Symposium: 'Consumer rights and human rights: enemies or allies?’

21 November 2019 - 13:50
  • 2 December
  • 15.30 hrs
  • IISH, Max Nettlau Room (entrance Zeeburgerkade 10)

On 2 December 2019, on the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the team of the ERC research project Rethinking Disability organizes a symposium in the International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam (IISG/IISH)

The ideology of the free market has become increasingly criticized because it is held responsible for socio-economic inequality and the malfunctioning of the public sector. But not so long ago, the free market was embraced by a broad range of actors across the entire political spectrum. One sign of this endorsement was the use of market terminology – such as consumers and clients – by self-advocate organizations of people with disabilities and patients active at local, national and international levels. During the last decades, many of these organizations have also started to employ the language of human rights. Although the relation between human rights and free market ideology or neoliberalism has increasingly started to receive attention, the question how self-advocacy organizations have dealt with these ideologies and concepts has hardly ever been posed. During the symposium ‘Consumer rights and human rights activism: enemies or allies?’ we will explore this question with self-advocates and historians working on relevant issues.

During the symposium historians and (former) self-advocates will give short pitches, which will be followed by a panel discussion and debate with the audience. Participants in the panel are:

  • Peter van Dam (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Marjolein Swaanenburg-van Roosmalen (College voor de Rechten van de Mens)
  • Gabor Petri (Universiteit van Kent)

The symposium will be concluded with the launch of a new initiative: A Global Public History of the International Year of Disabled Persons (see Call for Blogs) and a digital collection on the Dutch International Year of Disabled Persons (1981) at the website

The event will start at 3.30pm sharp and after the blog launch at around 5pm there drinks & bites will be available.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us on Twitter @ERC_Rethinking

Rethinking Disability