Department of Disability, Inclusion and Social Participation

The Section of Disability, Inclusion and Social Participation teaches and researches from the perspective of Disability Studies how disability is produced and categorized as embodied difference depending on historical, cultural, linguistic as well as institutional conditions, discourses and practices. Social conditions and developments for disabled people are analyzed against the background of historical experiences for a present and future dignified coexistence.

The focus of research and teaching is on the life situation and quality of life of disabled people: Developmental and educational processes, assistance and care needs, resources and burdens, the realization of self-determination and empowerment, equality and participation in different areas of life and the entire life span (including education, health, housing, family and work). The understanding of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that disability is the result of multidimensional interactions between individual impairments and societal, attitudinal and environmental barriers is used as a profound orientation. From a participation-oriented perspective, great importance is attached to the subjective assessment of disabled people and their self-advocacy.

A thematic focus of the field is human rights - especially of disabled people -, their development, their interpretation and their implementation - including the right to comprehensive barrier-free access to care and support systems. Central issues touch upon:

  • Enjoyment of (all human) rights as a way of exercising the right (equal access to the right with others).
  • Intersectionality, i.e. the interweaving of different discrimination categories such as gender or migration/flight and disability
  • Barriers and accessibility

Theoretically and practically - in the sense of the CRPD - the perspective of inclusion is leading the way, which aims at the social inclusion of all members of society while recognizing their differences, whereby in particular social processes of "being disabled" are increasingly illuminated. The field offers basic and applied theoretical contributions:

  • how disability is produced and (re)constructed through social practices of inclusion and exclusion
  • how processes of exclusion of disabled people have arisen or will arise historically, currently and in the future, and how this can be avoided
  • how equality and participation has been enabled so far and how it can be comprehensively achieved in the future (implementation of the CRPC).

The section of disability, inclusion and social participation has many links to different disciplines, as it addresses cross-cutting issues. The methodological and content-related approach is therefore characterized by an inter- and transdisciplinary approach. Relevant interfaces arise in particular with the following subject areas: Gender and Queer Studies, History, Sociology and Philosophy, Art and Cultural Studies, Inclusive education, Law, Theology, as well as Social and Health Policy. The section is networked with corresponding academic disciplines within and outside the University of Kassel, as well as with relevant practice partners in self-advocacy organizations of disabled people, professional associations of disability assistance, educational organizations, and providers of social institutions and services.