What is it about?

Switzerland’s social policies in the field of disability have been significantly reshaped over the last two decades by reducing the number of allowances awarded and by increasing the recourse to vocational rehabilitation measures. What stances do individuals who experience the implementation of these policies adopt? What kind of tests are they subjected to? How can we explain the posture they adopt – be it ‘compliant’, ‘pacified’ or ‘rebellious’ – when facing the (re)assignations of their identity and professional status? Drawing on interviews conducted with individuals who have recently been involved in programmes set up by Swiss disability insurance, we highlight their uncertainties and concerns relating to their place in society, as well as their reactions to disability insurance’s interventions.

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Why is it important?

This article examines how people experience vocational rehabilitation programmes set up by Swiss disability insurance. Swiss disability insurance evaluates one’s eligibility for vocational rehabilitation and benefits; it proposes or denies vocational retraining courses and can cease to provide benefits if recipients turn down its offers. This process provokes doubts, fears and hopes, and often involves the mourning of previous identities. While some people are happy with Swiss disability insurance’s decisions, others have more mixed views and a majority of those we met are very critical. The main factors that impact the experiences of people in contact with disability insurance are, on the one hand, the opportunity to negotiate one’s rehabilitation path and future occupation, and, on the other, the outcome of this negotiation.

Perspectives

Critical disability studies

Jean-Pierre Tabin
Haute Ecole Specialisee de Suisse Occidentale

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This page is a summary of: The ‘compliant’, the ‘pacified’ and the ‘rebel’: experiences with Swiss disability insurance, Disability & Society, January 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2018.1545115.
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