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Disability Servitude

From Peonage to Poverty

Authors: Beckwith, Ruthie-Marie

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eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-54031-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $105.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-54030-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Disability Servitude traces the history and legacy of institutional peonage. For over a century, public and private institutions across the country relied on the unpaid, forced labor of their residents and patients in order to operate. This book describes the work they performed, in some cases for ten or more hours a day, seven days a week, and the lawsuits they brought in an effort to get paid. The impact of those lawsuits included accelerated de-institutionalization, but they fell short of obtaining equal and fair compensation for their plaintiffs. Instead, thousands of resident and patient-workers were replaced by non-disabled employees. Disability Servitude includes a detailed history of longstanding problems with the oversight of the sub-minimum wage provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act oversight. Beckwith shows how that history has resulted in the continued segregation and exploitation of over 400,000 workers with disabilities in sheltered workshops that legally pay far less than minimum wage.

About the authors

Ruthie-Marie Beckwith is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Disability Studies Program at City University of New York, USA.

Reviews

“Disability Servitude tells the history of the end of peonage in American institutions for people with intellectual disabilities. … a welcome addition to the field of disability studies, treading the line between advocacy and balanced critique with great skill. … strength of this volume is that it takes a hitherto underexplored area of disability policy and shows how central it is to our understanding of the place of disabled people in contemporary American history. In this sense, it is invaluable.” (Gareth Millward, H-Net Disability, h-net.org, May, 2017)

“This book is to provide a historical review of how a system of legally imposed economic impoverishment has been, and remains, a cornerstone of our social practice of segregation and seclusion for this segment of our population. … Beckwith presents a persuasive argument that an understanding of the history of unpaid, or barely paid, labor of people with intellectual disability is essential if we are to ever successfully support their integration into our communities as productive and valued citizens.” (Philip M. Ferguson, Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, Vol. 41 (4), 2016)


[This book] is an important reminder that, as Shakespeare noted, the past is prologue and that we must not forget what happens when through peonage or segregation or discrimination people are treated as different, as apart from and not a part of our communities and societies.'

- Michael Wehmeyer, Ross and Mariana Beach Professor of Special Education; Director and Senior Scientist, Beach Center on Disability, University of Kansas, USA

'[This book] is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the history of the exploitation of disabled people's labor in the United States and how this past continues to negatively impact employment equity today.'

- Geoffrey Reaume, Associate Professor of Critical Disability Studies at York University, Canada

'Beckwith's book reminds us of a perspective about disability that we must not forget. This is important today as old abuses too-often re-emerge under new names—unpaid work experiences, sub-minimum wages, and modern disability servitude masquerading as 'volunteerism….''

- Michael Callahan, Marc Gold & Associates

'[This] is a timely and important book that examines a part of the institutional story not usually told.'

- Steve Noll, Master Lecturer at the University of Florida, USA and author of Mental Retardation in America (2004).

'A critically needed book in disability history… that will inform current policy debates and service initiatives.'

- Mariette J. Bates, Academic Director of Disability Studies Programs at CUNY School of Professional Studies, City University of New York, USA

'[This book] reveals a vital piece of disability history and creates a compelling analysis of the politics of work for people with intellectual disabilities. A terrific contribution.'

- Allison C. Carey, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Disability Studies, Shippensburg University

'A must read for those interested in understanding the underlying reasons for the persistent unemployment of persons with disabilities, and the pathway for their full employment and productive contributions to American society.'

- Ruby Moore, Executive Director, The Georgia Advocacy Office

Table of contents (9 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Beckwith, Ruthie-Marie

    Pages 1-3

  • Institutionalized Peonage and Involuntary Servitude

    Beckwith, Ruthie-Marie

    Pages 5-27

  • Fighting Forest Fires: The Lost Heritage of Competence and Contribution

    Beckwith, Ruthie-Marie

    Pages 29-42

  • The Peonage Cases

    Beckwith, Ruthie-Marie

    Pages 43-54

  • The Aftermath

    Beckwith, Ruthie-Marie

    Pages 55-77

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-54031-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $105.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-54030-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Disability Servitude
Book Subtitle
From Peonage to Poverty
Authors
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-54031-7
DOI
10.1057/9781137540317
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-54030-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXI, 184
Topics