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|Title: ||Accessibility and disability in the built environment : negotiating the public realm in Thailand|
|Authors: ||Sawadsri, Antika|
|Issue Date: ||2011 |
|Publisher: ||Newcastle University|
|Abstract: ||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.|
|Description: ||PhD Thesis|
|Appears in Collections:||School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape|
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