Nothing about us, without us: The pursuit of inclusive and accessible positive peace
People with disabilities are the largest minority in the world; a minority that continues to face high instances of direct, structural and cultural violence during times of peace, as well as during times of conflict and displacement. Exacerbating their marginalisation has been the absence of the disability community from Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) research, literature and practice, which has perpetuated ableist ideologies and hindered the pursuit of “positive peace”. This research responds to this absence by investigating the intersectionality of disability, conflict and displacement from a PACS perspective. Its purpose is two-fold. The first aim is to conduct pure research that challenges the on-going marginalisation of people affected by disability, conflict and displacement, by intentionally de-subjugating and valuing their knowledge and experiences. The second aim is to use applied research to conceptualise and demonstrate ways in which PACS might actively advance inclusive and accessible positive peace. The design of this research was strongly influenced by critical theories, the transformative paradigm, appreciative inquiry, narrative inquiry and partial-insider research. Over a period of five weeks, twenty interviews were conducted in Ecuador with refugees and asylum seekers with disabilities from Colombia and Venezuela, and their family members. A further five interviews were conducted with service providers. The key findings were simple. Participants confirmed that the intersectional experience of disability, conflict and displacement can be dangerous and harrowing. As participants shared insights into how to navigate direct, structural and cultural violence during conflict and displacement, a second key finding was that a great deal can be learned from people with lived experience. Finally, this research revealed that when PACS is informed by rights-based approaches; when those with lived experience have equitable opportunities to determine their own research agenda and contribute knowledge and expertise; and when “nothing about us, without us” is at the forefront of peacebuilding research and activities, then inclusive and accessible positive peace can begin to be realised.
Advisor: Jackson, Richard; Rutherford, Gill
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Peace and Conflict Studies
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Peace and Conflict Studies; Disability Studies; disability; conflict; displacement; positive peace; access; peacebuilding; appreciative inquiry; intersectionality; CRPD
Research Type: Thesis