Vulnerability and the disabled body. Getting a sense of belonging through the other

Friday, November 1, 2013
First author:
Kelders Y.
Belonging through Performance

Graduate student, research master Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

All authors:

Ymke Kelders

Empowerment & Environment
Disability, body, belonging, globalization


The aim of this presentation is to seek for ways to reconceptualise the notion of the disabled body in relation to the changes in the health care system of the Netherlands and the influence of neo-liberal standpoints.


Through an analysis of the PGB (A personal budget from the government for people in need of care, to be able to hire and pay their own caregivers) I will examine the position of the disabled body and the vulnerability that seems to be attached to this body. The poem “the dance of day” will be used as an illustration of the dependency of a disabled body but will also show the potential of getting a sense of belonging through the other.


The PGB and the poem show the dependent relation that a disabled body can have when it needs care. A reconceptualization of vulnerability, dependency and responsibility is necessary when looking at a disabled body in society. 


The changing rules in the health care system of the Netherlands ask a critical gaze that goes beyond the fixation within neo-liberal values that seem to claim that “we all have something”, and demand on being self-sufficient.