Voicing the silenced – One Million Voices and the Danish disability experience


  • Bjørg Kjær Aarhus University


disability, Denmark, activism, history, silencing


Denmark has an international reputation as a groundbreaking welfare state, with various educational and social measures targeting citizens with disabilities. Based on an outline of the emergence of this narrative, I provide examples demonstrating how, following decades of cutbacks and neoliberal policies, the current situation is quite precarious.

The grassroots movement One Million Voices (En million stemmer) is presented as a contemporary example of the Danish fight for disability rights and welfare based on which I discuss efforts to give voice to citizens with disabilities and their families. I analyse the national narrative of Denmark as representing a gold standard for disability rights and welfare, arguing that this discourse plays an important role in contemporary struggles to ensure and improve disability rights. Inspired by Spivak (1985), I outline the historical emergence of the disabled as othered and voiceless subaltern, and examine the current situation in Denmark to understand how the historical discourse continues to have an impact through contemporary manifestations.






Special Issue: Voices of Subaltern