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This is not citizenship. Analysing the claims of disability activists in Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Welfare and Lifecourse)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0375-097X
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation aims to contribute to sociology, citizenship studies and disability studies by responding to T.H. Marshall’s ([1950]1992) invitation to examine the development of equal citizenship in a context of structural inequality, and Jenkins’ (1991) call to consider disability as a dimension of social stratification. Based on the analysis of blog posts and debate articles published in daily newspapers and written by Swedish disability activists (n=474), this dissertation argues that disability activism can be considered as a citizenship struggle claiming equal membership and rejecting the structural inequalities caused by disability. The analysis highlights a number of tensions and contradictions between and within the various components of citizenship as well as between and within the claims of the disability activists. These observations correspond to T.H. Marshall’s insight that citizenship is a developing institution full of contradictions, and to the observations of some citizenship scholars, arguing that citizenship claims-making features tensions and dilemmas. Moreover, the dissertation is in line with T.H. Marshall’s insight that the inclusion of previously excluded individuals – in this case, disabled people – as equal citizens brings forward important challenges, with respect to social (in)equality. In particular, challenges regarding recognition (who do we consider and value as full citizens?) and redistribution (how do we redistribute socio-material resources?). Based on the empirical analysis, this dissertation argues that the disability activists’ claims are defensive and proactive because the activists engage in both defending existing social rights and proposing new ways to construct citizenship for disabled people in Sweden. Finally, this dissertation points at different strategies used by the disability activists and at the dilemmas that some of these strategies imply. Among others, the Swedish disability activists highlight the importance of equal rights, while recognising the reality of costs; demand that disabled people be considered as ordinary citizens while asking for the accommodation of their specific needs; and view the state as the protector of equal citizenship while criticising it as a cause of the structural inequalities faced by disabled people. Thus, this dissertation opens new perspectives on citizenship and disability, and encourages future research to continue the analysis of citizenship in relation to structural inequalities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Sociology , 2019. , p. 240
Keywords [en]
citizenship, disability, activism, social struggles, social stratification, social media, daily newspapers, rights, costs, equality, difference, state, Sweden, Sociology
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-381299ISBN: 978-91-506-2757-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-381299DiVA, id: diva2:1302891
Public defence
2019-05-31, Room IX, University Main Building, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 320079Available from: 2019-05-06 Created: 2019-04-07 Last updated: 2019-05-28

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CiteExportLink to record
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