Contact person:
Hanna Egard
  • Forte
  • David Wästerfors - ansvarig för projektet vid Lunds universitet
  • Kristofer Hansson
  • etnologiLunds universitet
  • Kristofer Hansson - etnologi
  • Lunds universitet
Time frame:
01 January 2018 - 31 December 2020
Research subject:

About the project

Today’s society harbors a range of promises of accessibility. Buildings and rooms should be adapted; public service, leisure activities and information are supposed to be reachable for all. Governments, the EU and UN strongly defend progressive disability politics. Still researchers and citizens point out negligence, exceptions and complications. Barriers and stigmatizations are reproduced daily, often quite subtly. This project aims at explaining everyday processes that underpin social and cultural inertia in the societal work for accessibility. We want to specify and clarify recurrent situations at which spatial and social accessibility turns crucial, and analyze how norms of accessibility are neutralized in these situations. How are exceptions, deviations and anomalies formulated, motivated and reproduced in relation to today’s accessibility norms? What conditions cultivate inertia in accessibility work in and through everyday situations?

Two types of settings are focused: digital arenas (people’s everyday use of information technology) and urban arenas (entertainment, culture, sports, etc.). By drawing on qualitative data fromthese contexts – conversational interviews and fieldnotes, electronic data, documents – we will specify the moral and practical aspects of accessibility. We will use ethnographic go alongs to capture everyday accessibility troubles among persons with motor and cognitive disabilities, and map associated accounts that actors in presumably responsible positions adhere to when accessibility is downplayed or overlooked. We will also analyze the rhetoric of accessibility in governing texts when they are activated in the field.

Previous research has not given enough attention to everyday practices and arguments that actors employ when norms of accessibility are neutralized. Instead, rather sweeping perspectives on normality and discrimination have been used. In this project the phenomenon is investigated more precisely and practically.