Research project Employing life course perspectives of humans’ experiences of disability in Sweden, past and present, this project challenges present preconceptions about disability and its diverse impacts on people’s opportunities in society.
Recent statistics show that about 65 million people (10%) of the European population are disabled. Employing life course perspectives of humans’ experiences of disability in Sweden, past and present, this project challenges present preconceptions about disability and its diverse impacts on people’s opportunities in society. The findings increase our understanding of how and why liveable disabilities vary across time and between individuals that help to promote more equal and fairer opportunities for disabled people today.
European Research Council (ERC), 2016-2021: SEK 19,000,000
People with disabilities are marginalized in society and research, and little is known about how disabilities become liveable. Our research team challenges this multifaceted bias by investigating ‘liveable disabilities’ as a function of disability and opportunity structures from the 19th century until now in Sweden.
Four life course themes are analysed with mixed-method research:
1. Health and well-being
2. Transitions into education and work
3. Into a partner relationship and family life
4. Opportunity structures in leisure activities (through social interaction and disability representations in sports, culture and on the Internet)
Quantitative analyses of Sweden’s long-term population databases reflect how disability impacts on people’s educational, occupational, marital and survival chances. Qualitative analyses uncover how disabled people today experience and talk about the themes (1-4) and how mass media depict them or they themselves communicate their life stories in different media. We make innovative studies of social activities in culture, sports and on Internet, which may promote people’s opportunities in society at large. This enables us to answer three basic questions:
A. When? Have liveable disabilities increased or fluctuated across time?
B. Who? What variations in liveable disabilities are found between different people with different impairments?
C. Why? Which opportunity structures and individual features work to impede or further liveable disabilities?
Our research team possesses an exceptional infrastructure from the cross-disciplinary skills we represent and our affiliation with centres at Umeå University researching populations (CEDAR, DDB), disability (CDR), gender (UCGS) and the humanities, culture and information technology (HUMlab).