The Open UniversitySkip to content

Disability and flexible employment: an embodied approach

Hall, Edward Curzon (1999). Disability and flexible employment: an embodied approach. PhD thesis. The Open University.

Full text available as:
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (16MB)
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Disabled people are significantly disadvantaged in employment, with many more unemployed, in lower status occupations and on poorer salaries than their able-bodied counterparts. The increased use of flexible employment methods, including part-time working, temporary contracts and ‘flexitime’, has raised questions about how the experience of disabled people in employment has been affected. This thesis has this as its motivating issue, that is, have flexible employment practices provided more opportunities for disabled people in employment or further restricted their prospects? After outlining the main issues involved in the disability and employment debate, the thesis uses the period of the two World Wars to draw out the three central themes of disability, flexible employment and the ‘body’. These are explored in turn, in particular their changing understandings. The recent social theories of the body are of particular relevance. Rethinking the body as a social and cultural entity, the mind and the physical body of a person connected to, affected by and affecting, social and cultural processes, allows the development of the theory of ‘embodiment’. The thesis, using evidence from the main UK disability and employment organisations and three large UK service sector companies, argues that an embodied approach can provide a better understanding of the relationship between disability and flexible employment. An embodied approach forces a focus on the processes of employment and disability by looking at how work operates. It also puts attention on the materiality of employment for disabled people. The spatial practices of employment in the companies can be better understood through an embodied approach as the full range of the interaction between employees and their work - mental and physical - is involved. The whole nature of the meaning of ‘employment’ and ‘disability’ is also raised.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: 1999 The Author
Keywords: employment of people with disabilities; flexible hours of work
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies
Item ID: 18904
Depositing User: Juliet I. Baxter
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2009 16:12
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2019 09:01
Share this page:

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU