Svetlana Borodina

AnthropologyRice University

Award Information

2016 IDRF Program

AnthropologyRice University

Governing Productive (Dis)Abilities: the Inkluzivnyi Work Regime and Moral Citizenship in Russia

The focus of this project is the ongoing attempts by Russian policy makers and corporate managers to institute an inkluzivnyi (inclusive, singular) work regime. Specifically, I am interested in how the top-down inkluzivnyi work imperative—the imperative for disabled and nondisabled workers to labor alongside each other—turns into a routinized practice and how, through this routinization, it changes existing work cultures and ideas about disability, work, and citizenship in Russia. In contrast to the previous policies of disability marginalization and isolation, this solution has been construed as a way of building an integrative, more just and moral society. A growing number of entrepreneurially-minded people with disabilities and disability NGOs have expressed support for this initiative. Yet it remains unclear if this work regime indeed produces better-rehabilitated and more moral citizens. Through participant observation and interviews in the regional Ministry of Social Policy and disability inclusive firms, I will investigate what this regime actually produces. Particularly, I will examine (1) what kinds of people inkluzivnyie (inclusive, plural) workplaces invite and exclude, (2) how this initiative changes and challenges work cultures, and finally, (3) what possibilities and shortcomings it offers to the governors. In order to generate an ethnographic understanding of how the crafting and implementation of this initiative affects disabled and nondisabled subjects, I will conduct twelve months of fieldwork in Yekaterinburg, Russia, a regional administration center with a vibrant disability scene. In bringing this context into dialogue with the scholarship on governance, disability, and work, I will ultimately generate insights about how a neoliberalizing state governs productive (dis)abilities as a technique to produce moral citizens.