Dr. Allison Carey’s book “Allies and Obstacles: Disability Activism and Parents of Children with Disabilities” was awarded the 2021 Scholarly Achievement Award of the North Central Sociological Association, recognizing the book as the best sociology book of the year by an author in the region.

The North Central Sociological Association is a regional association focused on the development of sociology as a scientific and scholarly discipline serving Easter Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada. Their annual Scholarly Achievement Award recognizes a book based on several criteria including overall contribution to and impact on the discipline of sociology.

The book, co-authored by Pamela Block and Richard Block, focuses on the complex relationship between parent activists and activists with disabilities. According to Carey, both groups advocate for disability rights, but often have different perspectives, goals and strategies.

“In this book, we look at disability activism as a diverse social movement with many players who sometimes ally and sometimes conflict, and we study when and why alliance or conflict emerges,” said Carey.

Carey was inspired to write on this topic as the sibling of someone with a disability, but also in an effort to address the need for research in this area. Much research to date focuses on activism through a parent’s perspective. Carey hopes the book will allow different groups to view disability activism as a social movement and better understand how different groups ally or compete for resources of political influence.

“When they are divided, often both sides lose out. So, we wanted to start conversations about alliance and divisions, expose people to varied perspectives, and perhaps build bridges,” she explained.

Carey is hopeful the book will be a resource for both academic and non-academic audiences and his honored her work has received such recognition.

“Writing a book often feels very isolating, and it’s difficult to know how it will be received. Disability research is a growing subfield within sociology, and this award recognizes the value of the work disability scholars do, which feels really important to me,” said Carey.