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Absent Citizens: Making Citizenship Accessible

Absent Citizens: Making Citizenship Accessible

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Absent Citizens: Making Citizenship Accessible

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  1. Absent Citizens: Making Citizenship Accessible Michael J. Prince Presentation at York University Vanier College March 18, 2010

  2. Outline • My locations • Absent citizens and related concepts • What is citizenship • Making citizenship accessible • Continuing thoughts

  3. My locations • Outsider in the inside of the movement • Insider on the outside of the academy • Outsider/Insider connections • Who and what prompted me to write this book

  4. The concept of “absent citizens” • Absence of persons with disabilities in at least four ways: • Lacking formal rights and membership status in political communities • Gaps in, and obstacles to actual practices in various aspects of life • Overlooked in social science studies and theory • Excluded from most definitions and discussions of citizenship

  5. Absence is connected to power and presence • Absent citizens are the effects of the exercise of power in specific places, certain groups, numerous areas of life and time periods • Absent citizens are not totally outside the community, but are socially produced and politically positioned in marginalizing ways • Think always of “absent/present citizens” together

  6. Concepts related to absent citizens

  7. Policy determinants of accessible citizenship • Universalistic income security at adequate and reliable levels through the life course • Inclusive education • Gainful employment with appropriate supports in inclusive workplaces • Affordable and available supply of personal supports, housing, and community services • Universal design for physical environments, electoral systems, and systems of communication, transportation and information • Mechanisms to tackle systemic discrimination and to promote human rights for all

  8. What is citizenship • A fluid mix of ideas and frames, relations, resources • “A sense of belonging in one’s country and gives each individual the right to participate in society and in its economic and political systems” Scott Task Force Report, 1996 • In Absent Citizens, I explore five elements: discourse, legal and equality, democratic and political, fiscal and social, and economic

  9. Making citizenship accessible • By grounding it in actual lived experiences, embodied needs and capacities • By raising critical awareness and public understanding of status quo • By removing community barriers and social wrongs • By respecting and promoting human rights & human dignities

  10. Continuing thoughts • Widespread and thorough inclusion is a reality for a relative minority • The project of making citizenship accessible has both theoretical and practical elements (the academy and the movement ; insider/outsider dynamics) • Citizenship is a bundle of legal statuses and lived practices of embodied subjects in complex societies with ambivalent values • What kinds of politics will support the development of rights, access and inclusion?

  11. A sunset or a new dawn?

  12. Thank you to • Access Centre – Able York • Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies • Students for Barrier-free Access, University of Toronto