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Title: Accessibility and disability in the built environment : negotiating the public realm in Thailand
Author: Sawadsri, Antika
ISNI:       0000 0004 2711 004X
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2011
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This study aims to explore accessibility for disabled people through the concept of social construction of disability. Impaired bodies are mainly disabled by disabling social and physical impediments. The built environment reflects how society understands disability and accessibility. How can disabled people individually and collectively resist, transcend, and change those disabling barriers? This research is qualitative in approach and based on mixed methods. The discussions are divided into two main themes: 1) meaning, and its product of understanding disability, and 2) the process of negotiating inaccessibility. Firstly, understanding of 'pi-gam' or disability is examined through culture representations such as language, literature, and media. Information from secondary data is used together with primary data in the form of in-depth interviews complimented by a postal survey. Through a focus on public facilities the thesis investigates how understandings of disability produce the built environments and what are spatial constraints and needs of disabled people. Secondly, the research investigates processes through which disabled people individually and collectively overcome access barriers. A process of disabled people as a collective in overturning existing socio-political structure to press for their access requirements through a case of footpath renovation project is explored in depth as is a lived experience of a disabled individual in Bangkok. The analyses indicate that disabled people resist an idea of disability linked with individual tragedy and illness by changing language use and reproducing the self through daily life. Performing daily activities in public places can be a way to demonstrate to society as a whole that the common notion of disability equalling dependency is mistaken. By actively participating in the movement, disabled people are overturning this dominant ideology. Fusing access issues with mainstream agendas such as quality of life and contributing to the prestige of an icon in Thai society provides opportunities for disabled people as a collective voice to achieve their access requirements. In sum, by individually and collectively acting as agents for change in challenging popular perceptions, disabled people are drawing attention to the social construction of their disability. It is disabling physical environments that must be excluded not their impaired bodies. This research proposes ways in which the environmental experiences of impaired bodies as well as the role of disabled people as partners in creating accessible facilities can be included in consideration of access policies and their implementation in Thailand.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available