Disability and citizenship : an emancipatory study of professionals' attitudes to disabled people
The research described in this thesis had two main aims. First, to examine the concept of citizenship and to develop it in relation to the experiences of disabled people. Secondly, and of equal importance, to test an emancipatory methodology within an academic doctoral context. The empirical work supporting the first aim consisted of 30 interviews with 'professionals' to assess their attitudes towards disabled people. The analysis of these interviews showed how professionals' views were linked to concepts of citizenship, specifically those of moral rights, attitudes, difference, consumerism and risk. The emancipatory model within which the research was conducted involved an Advisory Group of disabled people who contributed to the planning and guiding of the research and the analysis of the data. A significant part of the thesis discusses the ethical and methodological issues of'ownership' of the research in terms of the tension between the writer of the thesis gaining an academic qualification (PhD) and the use of emancipatory methods in research. It also shows how the development of the concepts relating to citizenship arising from the analytical process was influenced by the input of the Advisory Group. One additional outcome of carrying out research in this paradigm was the production of an accessible report, with suggested points for action, to provide a product of relevance to those who took part in the research (see appendix). The conclusions to the thesis assess the extent to which the methodology was of an emancipatory nature and propose a development of the citizenship model.