Ioana Cerasella Chis

The Politics of Disablement and Precarious Work in the UK

Supervisors: Dr Emma Foster and Dr Laura Jenkins

Ioana Cerasella Chis

Ioana’s qualitative doctoral research project titled ‘The Politics of Disablement and Precarious Work in Contemporary UK’ explores the political economy of disablement exploitation and oppression through disabling capitalist social relations. It also analyses the everyday lives and standpoints of twenty-seven UK-based gig economy workers who, during the data production process, identified as being disabled, neurodivergent, chronically ill, experiencing mental distress, and/or having impairments.
Ioana undertook her BA and MA degrees at the University of Birmingham and in 2022 she became Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her research interests have changed over time, but their underlying commonality consists of interdisciplinary, socially useful, and emancipatory production of knowledge and practices (within-against-and-beyond the academy) that can inform the advancement of collective struggle and social change. Ioana seeks to make theoretical, political, and empirical contribution to the fields of Critical Political Economy, Disability Studies, Sociology and to the collective thinking and organising that takes place through Disabled People’s Organisations, Trade Unions, and other collectives that are focusing on anti-capitalist social change. 


Over the past decade, Ioana has undertaken work in various areas of the university, holding roles such as Academic Skills Advisor (Academic Skills Centre), Graduate Teaching Assistant (POLSIS), Tutor of A-level students (Access to Birmingham), Student Enhancement Administrator (School of Social Policy), and others. During her previous degrees, Ioana undertook funded placements and internships within the third and public sectors, thus exploring the way in which work is conducted within Birmingham-based social enterprises, charities, and the city council. 

In 2015, Ioana co-founded The Contemporary Philosophy of Technology Research Group, through which she co-organised numerous talks and symposia over the following four years. Ioana has also been actively involved in the UNISON and UCU trade union branches on campus. 

Alongside her doctoral research and teaching, Ioana undertook a three-month, ESRC-funded placement with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), gaining valuable insights into investigative journalism’s methodological and ethical approaches to research. She was also a member of the advisory team for an inter-institutional academic project that investigated changes to the working environments of workers in the hospitality sector during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Currently, Ioana is a member of Marxism and Disability Network’s Steering Group and Co-Convenor of the British Sociological Association’s Theory Study Group.


Teaching responsibilities

School of Government:

  • Understanding Politics
  • Pathways to Research I (academic skills)
  • Pathways to Research II (research methods)
  • Introduction to Political Theory

Academic Skills Centre:

  • Academic Skills Advisor (holding one-to-one appointments with students mainly from the College of Social Science)

Access to Birmingham (through the School of Social Policy):

Research Interests

  • Politics of disablement
  • Politics of (waged and unwaged) work
  • Politics of ‘rest’
  • Post-‘68 Marxism
  • Politics from below and collective struggle
  • Philosophy of technology
  • Sociology, politics, and philosophy of education, knowledge production, and pedagogy
  • Trade unionism
  • Emancipatory research
  • Critical social theory

Professional memberships

Steering Group Member of the Marxism and Disability Network (MDN) supported by the Historical Materialism Journal (HM)

Member of:

  • European Sociological Association (ISA) and its Critical Political Economy Research Network (CPERN)
  • International Sociological Association (ISA)
  • Conference of Socialist Economists (CSE)
  • Political Studies Association (PSA)
  • American Political Science Association (APSA)
  • Social Policy Association (SPA)
  • Leisure Studies Association (LSA)
  • European Group for Organisational Studies (EGOS)


  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Horizon Award holder, Higher Education Futures Institute, University of Birmingham
  • MA Social Research, University of Birmingham
  • MA Social and Political Theory, University of Birmingham
  • BA Sociology and Political Science, University of Birmingham

Conference papers

Chis, I., C. (forthcoming, 2024) ‘Envisioning a Post-capitalist Society through Gig Economy Subjects of Disablement’s Critiques of Productivity and Disablement’, Disability Policy in Comparative Perspective Panel of the APSA Virtual Research Meeting, American Political Science Association, February 2024. 

Chis, I., C. (2023) ‘Moving Beyond the Rest-Work Dichotomy Through the Lens of Disability Politics: Rest as a Collective Necessity’, Approaching Rest, Work, and Activism through the Lens of Disability Politics: Relationships and Contradictions Symposium, British Sociological Association, 1st November 2023. 

Chis, I., C. (2023) ‘Horizons to Collectively Move Towards: Gig Economy Subjects of Disablement’s Critiques of Productivity and Visions for a Transformed Socies’, Amplifying Under-represented Voices Conference, University of Birmingham Business School, 20th September 2023.

Chis, I., C. (2023) ‘Disablement Subjectivation and the Reproduction of Capital’, Historical Materialism Journal & Marxism and Disability Network seminar, 3rd September 2023.  

Chis, I., C. (2023) ‘Theorising Disability and Disablement’, podcast discussion, The Critical Accounting Podcast, 11th July 2023. 

Chis, I., C. (2023) ‘Social Reproduction, the Politics of Disablement, and the Work Transfer Thesis’, The Political Economy of Care panel of the Organising for the Good Life: Between Legacy and Imagination Annual Conference/Colloquium, The European Group for Organizational Studies, 6th July 2023. 

Chis, I., C. (2023) ‘The Centrality of Disablement Subjectivation to the Reproduction of Capitalist Social Relations: Considerations for Critical and Global Political Economy’, Closing Plenary of The Costs of Capitalism Mid-Term Workshop, Critical Political Economy Research Group of the European Sociological Association, 10th June 2023. 

Chis, I., C. (2023) ‘Identity, Work, and The Centrality of Disablement to the Reproduction of Capitalist Social Relations, Interventions in Disability Politics Seminar Series, University of Brighton’s Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics, and Ethics, 29th March 2023. 

Chis, I., C. (2023) ‘Subjects of Disablement: Exploring Identity-Related Divergences in Relation to Disability in the UK’, POLSISTalks Seminar Series, University of Birmingham’s Political Science and International Studies Department, 8th February 2023.


Chis, I., C. (2023) ‘The Centrality of Disablement Subjectivation to the Reproduction of Capitalist Social Relations’, Global Political Economy, 0(00): 1-21, DOI:

Chis, I., C. (2023) ‘Repositioning Work, Rest, and Resistance in the Context of the Spring of Discontent’, NSUN website, February 2023. 

Chis, I., C. (2023) ‘Initial Research Report – The Politics of Disablement and Precarious Work’, DisPrecWork website, January 2023.