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Connecting disability equality to citizenship education

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  • Lc Special Aspects Of Education
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Law
  • Political Science


This thesis argues that the invisibility of disabled people in the Citizenship curriculum is no longer tenable. In analogue to race and sex discrimination, I use legal case analyses, together with empirically framed case studies within an international perspective, to systematically explore different aspects of citizenship. Citizenship elements range from ‘legal’, ‘constitutional context’, ‘political participation’, ‘human rights’, ‘community’, ‘socio-economic’ to ‘identity and belonging’. Through a mash up methodology of running voices of disabled people themselves over various themes of citizenship, the contributions, barriers and achievements of disabled people are embedded in the analysis. This includes often apparently conflicting or contradictory voices and cross cultural discussions. Disabled people’s experiences are constitutive of, not additional to, citizenship values. The work confirms that a paradigm shift is taking place in our understanding of disability, which profoundly challenges traditional models of citizenship and leads to uncertainties in professional practice. I propose a three-pillar model of inclusive citizenship, underpinned by the social model of disability, a socio-legal framework of rights-based anti-discrimination, and recognition of struggle as a political manifestation of contested ideologies. Each pillar is associated with concomitant shifts not only in individual but also in institutional behaviour, which extends to a critical examination of the law, the role of the state, social and institutional practices. The extent to which curriculum development on Citizenship, policy ideas, resources and practices are inclusive of and accessible to disabled people, and how programmes of study at key stages 3 and 4 reference disabled citizens, is critically discussed. This leads to an outline of practice with potential that connects disability equality to Citizenship education.

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