New Perspectives On Research


The Roeher Institute hosted an International Seminar on Research in Disability and Public Policy last August, 1997.

In a unique three-day forum, 60 scholars, policy analysts, policy makers and disability and human rights advocates discussed and debated policy research from a human rights perspective.

Participants were provided with opportunities to exchange perspectives on the “state-of-the-art” concepts in research and disability; to acquire applied and practical knowledge about how to do research involving and affecting people with disabilities; and to hear from people with disabilities about what research is important to them.

Leaders from England, the United States, Australia, Wales and Canada presented key ideas in sessions that posed a number of critical questions:

– What are the assumptions in building a social model of disability?
– Is there a place for “impairment” in a social model?
– Who makes decisions about enabling and disabling technology, and will universal design enhance access?
– Which of the social models can best secure social justice?
– How is the social model used to look at race, class, language, gender and sexual orientation?
– What becomes the focus of research in the social model, and how is it funded?
– What are the implications of genetic research and its application?
– How can the research agenda complement and support disability culture?

In formal sessions, and at informal social events, participants explored ways in which communities of researchers could work together across universities, research, policy and advocacy communities at the regional, national and international level.

The proceedings of the seminar, entitled “Challenging Orthodoxies: New Perspectives in Disability,” capture the key themes, the points of contention and the debate that took place, as well as the strategies and ideas proposed to shift attention from bio-medical perspectives on disability to human rights and social perspectives.

A volume containing the proceedings of this event is currently in production and will be available in December, 1997.

For more information, contact:

TEL: (416) 661-9611
TOLL-FREE: (800) 856-2207
FAX: (416) 661-5701
TTY: (416) 661-2023


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