Mine, Yours, and Theirs: The Social Production of Disability Space(s)
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While people with disabilities (PWD) seek to become more integrated in the community through federal mandates, the nation has also increased neoliberal policies to deinstitutionalize them as a cost saving measure to State Medicaid programs. At this time, little is known about the complexity of the experience PWD have after selecting and living in communities that are affordable and accessible to them. For some able-bodied individuals the ability to access space in the built environment is an afterthought. For people with disabilities who have physical/mobile limitations, it’s a daily struggle. This dissertation explored how the social production of space(s) are experienced and interpreted by people with disabilities who are living in the community. To understand their experiences, I developed a multi-methodological approach of “grounded critical visualization” (GCV) that incorporates modes of phenomenology, ethnography, and constructivist grounded theory with aspects of photovoice, spatial analysis, and statistics to address the overarching question, what is the relationship between the local, everyday practices of people with disabilities living in the community and their social production of space? I operationalized Henri Lefebvre’s “spatial triad” consisting of spatial practice (lived experiences), representations of space (conceptualized space), and representational space (perception of the lived space) to inform the social production of space. These components are juxtaposed by dialectically inserting the medical and social models of disability as a lens to better understand accessibility in the development of a substantive theory on the social production of disability space and accessibility issues within the built environment and the social practice of everyday life over time. I built on previous data on the deinstitutionalization of PWD into the community as a starting point for further inquiry. Through the grounded critical visualization process, a substantive theory was developed for the social production of disability space(s) consisting of three domains of policy, the built environment, and uneven development that affect the relationship between the local, everyday practices, experience and conceived spaces of people with disabilities who have physical/mobile limitations.