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Dr Nathanje Dijkstra

Senior member


Area(s) of interest: Dutch History, History of the Body, Identity, Legislative History, Modern & Contemporary History

Cohort/Start PhD: 2017-2018

Making up disability? Disability benefit legislation and disability identity formation in cases of traumatic neurosis and amputation in the Netherlands (1901-1967)

Utrecht University
Promotor(es): Dr Willemijn Ruberg
Aanstelling: vanaf september 2017

Ever since the introduction of the first act regulating the insurance of labourers in cases of accidents in the Netherlands – the Ongevallenwet (1901)- the regulations have constantly been tightened to make sure ‘the right people’ receive benefits, and to keep the welfare state affordable. What has been overlooked is the effect that the in- and exclusion procedures of disability benefits have had on the way people were identified. These identification mechanisms are of vital importance to understanding the formation of these in- and exclusion processes, because disability benefit legislation necessitates classification. As philosophers of science have shown, classifications ensure that people adopt the way they are being described, but at the same time the classifications are also changed and adapted by people. Interaction with the classification therefore ‘makes up’ the group of people that are being classified. By targeting the cultural impact and by critically examining its practical consequences in contested cases of traumatic neurosis and in less contested cases of amputation in the context of the Ongevallenwet (1901-1967), this project will examine the role disability benefit legislation plays in the making of disability identities.