Towards an assemblage approach to mobile disability politics
Social and Cultural Geography
This paper addresses embodied geographies of power assisted devices (powered wheelchairs and motorised scooters) for disabled people in Australia to augment understandings of mobile disability politics. Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of ‘lines’ is used to reimagine spatial thinking about mobile disability politics. Disability in this paper is understood as an emplaced, emergent, relational and embodied process that arises in the interaction between ideas, materials and bodies. A focus on the shifting affective capacities of everyday journeys can deepen an understanding of mobile disability politics through attention to sensations. To illustrate the notion of lines we draw on three ‘portraits’ from a qualitative project on power assisted devices in Ballina Shire, New South Wales, Australia. Each portrait provides an illustration of how mobility experiences of power assisted devices may reinforce and/or challenge normative ideologies and identities, alongside deepening understandings of how ideas and materials come together to produce enabling and/or exclusionary arrangements.
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