Disability citizenship: an Australian human rights analysis of the cultural industries

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Journal Article
Leisure Studies, 2009, 28 (4), pp. 419 - 441
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Research on disability and cultural life (the arts, leisure, recreation, sport and tourism) in the Australian context has largely been captured by medical approaches to disability. In contrast, this paper takes direction from social approaches to disability that place the experience of people with disabilities (PwD) at the centre of the research paradigm by examining this population's human rights' experiences. The paper is framed by reviewing the United Nations' disability initiatives including the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. The research then analyses the implementation and operation of Australia's Disability Discrimination Act, 1992 in respect to the cultural life of PwD. The research design uses a mixed method interpretive approach drawing on the management information systems of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and the Federal Court. The analysis of 420 complaint cases and 80 Federal court actions show a relationship between the types of discrimination experienced in cultural life and gender, disability type and industry sector. The recurring themes of discrimination demonstrate an ongoing struggle by PwD to assert their rights of citizenship.
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