[H+T--Friends] Call for Papers - RESEARCH IN SOCIAL SCIENCE AND DISABILITY (Volume 8) Addressing the Environmental Context of Disability
by Kochtitzky, Christopher (CDC/ONDIEH/NCEH)
Addressing the Environmental Context of Disability
People living with long-term functional limitations are very familiar with the influence of the environment on their lives. Physical structure, economic expectation or social relationship norms developed within various cultures can either restrict or support the individual’s full participation in society. The influence of these environmental factors can vary by the requirements of the participation role or its physical location, by individual goals and choices, by type of basic action difficulty causing the functional limitations and other characteristics of the person such as age, gender and race.
Many of the theoretical models of environmental impact on disability organize their approaches at two different levels, the individual and the societal levels. The immediate environment of the individual, including settings such as the home (reflecting the immediate family), the formal or informal workplace, places of worship, locations of civic participation, and other similar settings which surround the individual create micro systems in which the individual is personally involved. The person manages the physical, social and material elements of these contexts which take place in these micro systems as best they can.
The societal level of environment relates to the structure and organization of larger social and cultural systems in the community that provide a variety of services for everyone such as protection, shelter, food sources, education, entertainment, and health care for the total population. These include transportation systems, policing and emergency systems, forms of product distribution and health care systems. The individual only comes in contact with a small portion of the larger systems, but in many instances the larger systems dictate the general approach to disability within that system. For example, the organization of a city’s transportation system dictates or develops the organizational response to dealing with disabled clients, which represents the macro level of the transportation environment. However, the bus driver who takes the disabled person from point A to point B interprets company policy through his/her attitudes or experience and impacts the disabled person’s experience with the transportation system at the micro level. The experience of the person with disability with the transportation system then can be impacted by either or both the macro and micro circumstances. In some instances organizations or systems may not have consciously considered the needs of persons with disabilities who use their services and so the system is governed by cultural norms or possibly government legislation that is applied to all similar systems which may or may not ignore the needs of people with functional limitations (for example recent NYC taxicab issues).
While both individual and societal environments, can affect the ability of a person with a functional limitation to participate in chosen social roles, we have very little national or international data on patterns of environmental barriers or supports, particularly at the macro or societal level. Most of our information and understanding of environment/person interactions are based on anecdotal evidence from stories or reports of personal experience rather than data representing collective experience. Rehabilitation services often explore the nature of the contexts their clients need to deal with and in many cases have developed questionnaires to collect extensive environmental information from their clients. However, the data collected in this manner, while detailed, cannot be assumed to be generalizable to different types of limitations, different geographic areas in the same society, or different societal contexts. The data they collect are individual and reflect the personal experience. From such data, we can compare individual experiences with transportation, or health care access, but, without larger representations of the population with disabilities with which to examine the broader societal patterns, we don’t know if problems that are identified are attributable to the larger system or to the specific interaction such as that between the individual and the bus driver.
The objective of this volume of Research in Social Science and Disability is to address the environmental issues that support or restrict the participation of persons with functional limitations in society, thus potentially creating their disability either at the micro or macro level.
We are soliciting articles that address development of an understanding of environmental patterns that contribute to the supports or restrictions that a person with a limitation experiences. The following are only a few suggested areas of focus:
1. The nature of environment patterns created by social systems such as policing, transportation, resource distribution, etc.
2. Examination of the kind of norms that impact environments.
3. The kinds of participation that are most restricted by environmental factors.
4. The nature of the relationship between micro factors and macro factors in specific environmental areas such as travel, shopping, community participation and others.
5. Examination of the various methods of measurement of environmental factors at the individual or social levels of environment. Are there gaps in measurement either by type of limitation, subjective or objective questions, random sampling vs non-random sampling or other factors?
6. Cross-disability comparisons of environmental barriers or supports and their effects on participation.
7. Cross-national comparisons of the types of barrier or supports that exist that effect participation, particularly participation in obtaining work roles or in the worksites themselves.
8. Areas of participation that have seen the most improvement because of improvement in environmental factors. Or, are all areas of participation equally influenced by environmental context? What participation areas need the most environmental support?
Please note: This volume series has an interdisciplinary focus on social science research. Because of that, it is very important that authors avoid the jargon of their discipline and write to an audience knowledgeable about disability issues but who may not be as familiar with discipline-specific terminology.
Submissions are due no later than January 15, 2014 and should be sent to BOTH Barbara Altman, b.altman(a)verizon.net and Sharon Barnartt, barnartt(a)aol.com , co-editors of the series. If you have questions about this call for papers, please contact Barbara – b.altman(a)verizon.net Here is the link to the publisher’s style guidelines: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/products/ebookseries/author_guidelines.htm