Matthew Borus
Matthew Borus BA, Oberlin College
MSW, University of Michigan
MA, University of Chicago
Office: Phone: Email Interests:

Comparative/Historical/ Macro Sociology, Political Sociology, Qualitative Methodology, Disability, Social Movements

Doctoral Candidate (2016)

Dissertation title: Reasonable Accommodation, Rehabilitation, and Incarceration: Theorizing Disabled Citizenship

Committee: Elisabeth Clemens (co-chair), William Sites (co-chair, Social Work), Michele Friedner (Comparative Human Development), Reuben Miller (Social Work)

My dissertation asks how disabled people experience, navigate, and contest the divergent and contradictory meanings and policy implications of disability in the contemporary US.  Drawing on archival, interview-based, and participant observation data, I take the divergent forms of disabled experience as starting point for comparative case analysis, with an eye toward stratification by race, class, and disability type. I examine manifestations of disabled citizenship in four cases: 1) labor market participation with rights protections through the Americans with Disabilities Act; 2) income support through Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income; 3) institutionalization in putatively therapeutic settings such as nursing homes; and 4) carceral programs of so-called “therapeutic jurisprudence.”  I also study the work of activist groups currently seeking to reshape these sites of disabled citizenship, asking how past and current activist imaginaries shape expectations and experience.  By focusing on how policies interpellate subjects within political and economic systems, emphasizing the wide variation in these experiences, and tying current policy to ongoing social movement efforts to reshape it, my dissertation stresses the fundamentally social nature of disability, a social category that is still too often understood as a matter of personal misfortune.