They Can Replace You at Any Time!”: (In)Visible Hyper-Ableism, Employment and Sickle Cell Disorders in England

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This paper explores how ableism interacts with multiple identities in the workplace, in order to understand barriers and enablers to employment. Two focus group discussions and forty-seven semi-structured interviews were conducted with people who have sickle cell disorders (SCD). In England, SCD primarily affects people of Black African and Black Caribbean descent and is understood as an invisible disability because its signs and symptoms can be hidden. When exploring how participants give meaning to their experiences, we find that ableism acts as an embodied social sorting that foregrounds disablism, sexism and racism, requiring research participants not only to be ‘fit for’ work but also to ‘fit in’ at work. This makes invisible disabilities visible, allowing implicit and explicit disability discriminations. We advance theorizing in this area, by offering more nuanced conceptions of ableism within the workplace. Ableism is linked to discriminatory practices and power-dynamics which prevent access to employment, retention and career development and also challenge ensuring health for any encumbered body.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-359
Number of pages21
JournalScandinavian Journal Of Disability Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2021


  • ableism, intersectionality, employment, ethnicity, sickle cell

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