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Mandatory Fields
Working Paper
Kitchin, R.
A geography of, for, with or by disabled people: Reconceptualising the position of geographer as expert.
Optional Fields
Increasingly, geographers are turning their attention to, and actively engaging in, issues of disability. Accompanying this upturn in empirical studies has been a fierce debate centring on differences in underlying ideology, conceptions of disability and methodological approaches. These three in combination determine why a piece of research is undertaken, the type of study conducted, and how data is generated and analysed. At present, the principal protagonists have adopted opposing positions. At one side, geographers such as Golledge (1993, 1996) adopt a geography of and for disabled people, conceptualising disability as a function of impairment and conducting studies of (subjects of research) and on behalf of disabled people (beneficiaries of research). On the other side, geographers such as Gleeson (1996) and Imrie (1996) question the basis of such a geography, instead advocating a search for a geography with disabled people which conceptualises disability as a function of social construction. This paper critically appraises this debate and explores the possibilities of a geography with and by disabled people. Here, the position of geographer as expert is re-worked to one of facilitator and enabler and the position of disabled people from the subjects of study to co-researchers through a process of empowerment and the adoption of an emancipatory research strategy. Such a re-positioning ensures that rather than just placing the voices of disabled people in the research process that disabled people can speak through the research.
SARU Working Paper 1
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