Introduction. Making the participation of people with disabilities effective

Special report–Disability and participation
By Benoît Eyraud, Sébastien Saetta, Tonya Tartour

Disability is subject to a “paradigm shift” in international scientific debates, normative bodies, and public policies. This new understanding of disability, which focuses not only on “altered” functions of individuals, but also on the social impediments that they face and that are imposed on them, is central to the discussion on participatory democracy. The equivalence of “handicap” and “limitation of participation” offers a mise en abyme of the criticism of the representativeness of democratic expression and the forms of decision-making seeking to meet the interests of the individuals concerned. However, how can this paradigm be implemented? How to move from a policy statement to action, from a formal participation to a real and effective one? What obstacles are encountered and how can they be overcome? This introduction first reviews the origins of disability as a participation curtailment and the tensions of the inclusive model. It then outlines the articles—each based on the analysis of participatory projects in the field of disability rights, aiming at making a number of different forms of participation effective.


  • disability
  • participation
  • participatory democracy
  • inclusive model
  • impediments
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