Litigation Neurosis: Pathological Responses or Rational Subversion?
Disability Studies Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 1, Winter 2006
11 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2010
Date Written: 5
Medico-legal literature frequently refers to instances where people with disabilities in the process of undertaking injury related civil litigation acquire what has been rather crudely referred to as 'litigation neurosis'. Proponents of this pathology argue that the quest for compensation generates malingering. Litigants might remain ‘sick’ because of the ‘rewards’ they are given or are likely to obtain by remaining hyper-disabled by the compensation system. This article discusses the meanings given to such responses and suggests that an alternative reading of 'litigation neurosis’: as a highly rational act of resistance towards a system that views disablement in a reductionist way, a system that reinforces the notion of disability as personal tragedy. As part of negotiating welfare and legal systems that enumerate disability in terms of deficiency and pathology, tacit knowledges about responses to the government of disability, reveal that disabled people are highly skilled in ‘recripping’ or ‘decripping' themselves to satify eligibility criteria as well as the expected performances of ableism.
Keywords: Legal discourse, compensation neurosis, disabled identities, biomedicalism, injury management, disability resistance
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