DREAM Early Stage Researchers presenting at NNDR Conference 2013

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Seven Early Stage Researchers from the DREAM network attended and presented at the Twelfth Nordic Network of Disability Research Conference in Turku, Finland 30-31 May 2013.

Keynote speakers at the conference included Eva Feder Kittay, Professor of Philosophy, Stony Brook University; Dan Goodley, Professor of Disability Studies and Education, University of Sheffield; Jan Grue, Postdoctoral Fellow in Linguistics, University of Oslo, Norway; and Kalle Könkkölä, Executive Director of the Threshold Association, Helsinki, Finland.

Over the two days, the ESRs presented abstracts and posters and got to meet various disability academics from around the world. The following is a list of each ESR and the title of their presentations:

  • Anna Arstein-Kerslake: An empowering dependency: Exploring the role of supported decision-maker.
  • Magdi Birtha: “Nothing about CRPD monitoring without us” – case study on the involvement of the disability movement in policy-making in Zambia.
  • Ciara Brennan: “Theorizing the economics of independent living: Commodification of human rights in Iceland in a Nordic context” with Rannveig Traustadóttir and “The CRPD, independent living and user-led personal assistance”.
  • Ieva Eskyte: Shopping Accessibility: between the ideal and the real.
  • Robert Huffaker: Legal Framework on eAccessibility: A legislation review.
  • Carly Toepke: Participation and inclusive education under the UNCRPD.
  • Betül Yalcin: Employer attitudes towards employment of disabled people: a comparative analysis in the European context.

Rune Halvorson, PI from NOVA, presented “New policies to promote youth inclusion in the labour market? Disability in the Nordic welfare states”.

Rannveig Traustadóttir, PI from the University of Iceland, presented “Implementing and monitoring the CRPD” and “Childhood disability, space, place and identity” and chaired the symposiums titled “Implementing the CRPD” and “Childhood and Disability”.

DREAM Panel – Disability Policy in Crisis – accepted to 20th International Conference of Europeanists

cover of conference brochureA panel submission by DREAM ESRs Stelios CharitakisG. Anthony Giannoumis, and Ieva Eskyte will be presented at the 20th International Conference of Europeanists 25 to 27 June 2013 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The panel titled “Disability Policy in Crisis – Legal, Public Policy and Practical Approaches” will be chaired by Dr. Mark Davis, and Dr. Thomas Campbell will be acting as the discussant.

The panel will be divided into three sections:

  • Austerity measures in Greece: Do they violate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities? presented by Stelios Charitakis
  • Disability.eu – the impact of the crisis on the participation of persons with disabilities on the web presented by G. Anthony Giannoumis
  • Accessible Private Market for Disabled People? Crisis in Policy and Market Practices presented by Ieva Eskyte

Panel Summary: The austerity measures that have been adopted throughout Europe have put pressure to the beneficiaries of social welfare, most significantly minorities. As a minority group, disabled people are facing significant reductions or cuts to their benefits. Households with people with impairments are more vulnerable because they have lower than average household incomes. At the same time, a crucial shift on how disabled people are perceived has emerged from the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This UN Treaty marked the shift from the medical model of disability that focused on the impairment of disabled people and was expressed through social welfare benefits, to the social model that promotes full participation and inclusion for people with disabilities through the removal of barriers to equal and active participation in society. States are not the only ones responsible for the implementation of this approach. The private sector in general can be and should be, according to the Convention, leading that cause. Furthermore, the Convention focuses particular attention on information and communication technology (ICT), because of the important role it plays in ensuring social inclusion and full participation in society for disabled people.

The first speaker will take a legal approach. They will examine the case of cutbacks in Greece and will identify the measures that have been taken to reduce the benefits for people with disabilities. The discussion will include whether these measures amount to a violation of the CRPD or whether they are justified, according to Human Rights law. Finally, whether these measures can be seen as an opportunity to change the medical model approach and focus more on the social model approach and what measures Greece have taken to that respect will be considered.

The second speaker will take a public policy approach. They will compare regulatory regimes in the United Kingdom, Norway and the United States, focusing particularly on the social regulation of ICT service providers. The discussion will include the impact of the economic crisis on policy implementation in terms of the choice of policy tools (legislative, incentive, or hortatory). Finally regulatory enforcement of web design will be discussed in terms of standard setting, monitoring, certification and compliance.

The third speaker will take a practice oriented approach. They will examine practical measures that need to be taken by governments in order to achieve a more accessible private market for disabled people. The discussion will cover the impact of economic crisis on disabled shoppers’ position and patterns in the market as well as on experiences of sellers and producers of ICT. The discussion will be framed in Habermas’ life world colonization theory and informed by the position of the EU through a discussion of pertinent policy documents.

Presentation at the ECPR Sixth Pan-European Conference on EU Politics

""I will be presenting a paper titled “How Social Institutions Impact E-Accessibility Policy” at the ECPR Standing Group on the European Union’s Sixth Pan-European Conference. It will be hosted by the University of Tampere, Finland from 13 to 15 September 2012. The Standing Group’s Pan-European Conference is the largest academic conference on the European Union in Europe and brings together scholars working on the European Union from all over the world.

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The paper examines how social institutions (i.e. the differences in norms, values and procedures) impact the design and implementation of national and supranational policies to promote accessibility of information and communication technology (E-Accessibility). Based on original research currently in progress the paper presents preliminary findings based on a content analysis of policy documents from the UN and EU, and the US, UK and Norway.

The conference will feature Eleven sections

  • Theories of European Integration
  • EU Institutions and EU Politics
  • EU and Domestic Politics
  • Public Opinion, Party Politics and Interest Groups
  • Political Economy of the EU
  • EU Foreign Policy and External Relations
  • The EU and Conflict Resolution
  • The EU: Challenges and Reforms
  • Gender and Diversity
  • Immigration, Migration and Asylum
  • New Developments in Research on the EU

How Social Institutions Impact E-Accessibility Policy

I will be presenting a paper “How Social Institutions Impact E-Accessibility Policy” at the Universal Design 2012 conference in Oslo on 11-13 June 2012.

This paper examines how social institutions (i.e. the differences in norms, values and procedures) impact the design and implementation of national and supranational policies to promote accessibility of information and communication technology (E-Accessibility). Due to its social and political importance, the paper focuses on web accessibility (Internet and intranet websites, web based applications, and non-traditional and emerging technologies).

Based on original research currently in progress the paper presents preliminary findings based on a content analysis of policy documents from the UN and the EU, and the United States, the United Kingdom and Norway. The paper describes the emergence of E-Accessibility on the UN and EU policy agenda, and then compares how and to what extent the US, UK and Norway have responded to or anticipated these supranational policies to promote E-Accessibility.

Achieving E-Accessibility depends on whether policymakers can regulate the market to address the needs of all people, including persons with disabilities. Social regulation policies aim to influence market function and the behavior of non-governmental actors in an attempt to promote social objectives. While policy measures for social regulation may take different forms, many of them will be covered by the distinction between legislative means, financial incentives and persuasion strategies.

The paper argues that the US, UK and Norway have not only adopted different policy instruments, they also have different approaches to ensuring or enhancing opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in the information society. E-Accessibility policy programs and approaches in these countries have been influenced and framed by different national policy traditions, the distribution of roles, and the relationships between actors participating in the design and implementation of E-Accessibility policy.

How E-Accessibility Policy Balances Economic and Social Needs

""I will be presenting a paper “How E-Accessibility Policy Balances Economic and Social Needs” at the 8th International Conference on Evaluation for Practice at the University of Tampere in the City of Pori Finland on 18-20 June 2012.

The paper examines how national and supranational policy for promoting accessibility of information and communication technology (E-Accessibility) balance regional and international economic and social needs (e.g. as reflected in policies for ‘reasonable accommodation’ and ‘undue hardship’, the definition of ‘accessibility’, and the conditions regional authorities comply with E-Accessibility requirements). Due to its social and political importance, the paper focuses on web accessibility (Internet and intranet websites, web based applications, and non-traditional and emerging technologies).

Based on original research currently in progress the paper presents preliminary findings based on a content analysis of policy documents from the UN and EU, and the United States, United Kingdom, and Norway. The paper briefly describes the emergence of E-Accessibility on the UN and EU policy agenda, and then compares how and to what extent the US, UK and Norway have responded to or anticipated the needs and interests of business and regional authorities (e.g. in regulations of public procurement of accessible web solutions by regional authorities).

Achieving E-Accessibility depends on whether policymakers can regulate the market to address the needs of all people, including persons with disabilities. Social regulation policies aim to influence market function and the behavior of non-governmental actors in an attempt to promote social objectives. Policy dialogue between public authorities including standards organizations and monitoring agencies, business, and advocacy organizations has also impacted the nature of policy provisions and the achievement of policy goals.

The paper argues that the US, UK and Norway have different approaches to ensuring and enhancing economic opportunities for private enterprises and social opportunities for persons with disabilities. E-Accessibility policy programs and approaches in these countries have been influenced and framed by different national policy traditions, the distribution of roles, and the relationships between actors participating in the design and implementation of E-Accessibility policy.