- The Oxford Handbook of Disability History
- The Perils and Promises of Disability Biography
- Disability History and Greco-Roman Antiquity
- Intellectual Disability in the European Middle Ages
- Disability in the Premodern Arab World
- Disability and the History of Eugenics
- Social History of Medicine and Disability History
- Material Culture, Technology, and the Body in Disability History
- Designing Objects and Spaces: A Modern Disability History
- Documents, Ethics, and the Disability Historian
- Disability and Work During the Industrial Revolution in Britain
- Disability and Work in South Asia and the United Kingdom
- Disability and Work in British West Africa
- Race, Work, and Disability in Progressive Era United States
- Organized Labor and Disability in Post–World War II United States
- Deaf-Blindness and the Institutionalization of Special Education in Nineteenth-Century Europe
- Disability and Madness in Colonial Asylum Records in Australia and New Zealand
- Madness, Transnationalism, and Emotions in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century New Zealand
- Institutions for People with Disabilities in North America
- Picturing Disability in Eighteenth-Century England
- Disability, Race, and Gender on the Stage in Antebellum America
- Polio and Disability in Cold War Hungary
- Monstrous Births, Birth Defects, Unusual Anatomy, and Disability in Europe and North America
- Disability in Modern Chinese Cinema
- Transnational Interconnections in Nineteenth-Century Western Deaf Communities
- The Disability Rights Movement in the United States
- The Rise of Gay Rights and the Disavowal of Disability in the United States
- Disabled Veterans and the Wounds of War
Abstract and Keywords
A common claim in disability studies is that industrialization has marginalized disabled people by limiting their access to paid employment. This claim is empirically weak and rests on simplified accounts of industrialization. Use of the British coal industry during the period 1780–1880 as a case study shows that reassessment of the effect of the Industrial Revolution is in order. The Industrial Revolution was not as detrimental to the lives of disabled people as has often been assumed. While utopian workplaces for disabled people hardly existed, industrial sites of work did accommodate quite a large number of workers with impairments. More attention therefore needs to be paid to neglected or marginalized features of industrial development in the theorization of disability. Drawing on historical research on disability in the industrial workplace will help scholars better understand the significance of industrialization to the lives of disabled people, both in the past and the present.
Daniel Blackie is a postdoctoral research fellow in the History of Science and Ideas at the University of Oulu, Finland. His published work includes contributions on Early American disability history and he is co-author, with David M. Turner, of Disability in the Industrial Revolution: Physical Impairment in British Coal Mining, 1780–1880 (Manchester University Press, 2018).
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.