Social Participation in Europe

A study on the organizing principles underlying European social and equal rights policies using supranational and national policies for disabled people as an example

Director: Prof. Dr. Anne Waldschmidt
Term: April 2007 – March 2009
Funding: RheinEnergieStiftung Jugend/Beruf, Wissenschaft, Köln

The research project examined supranational and national policies for disabled people and aimed at analysing the rationalities of European social and equal rights policies. It consisted of several stages and considered different policy levels: First, the supranational level, i.e. the development of EU disability policy was investigated. Disability- related documents dating from 1958 up to 2005, covering the period of the European Union, were collected and analysed. As a second step the national level was studied. Drawing on the welfare state typology of Esping-Andersen (1990), three country reports were compiled: The United Kingdom was taken as representative of the liberal welfare state, Germany as the conservative-corporatist type and Sweden as typical for the social-democratic model. The country reports looked at national social and non- discrimination policies with regard to disabled people and the intersections and tensions between the two policy fields. In the final stage of the research project, the interactions between the EU level and the national levels were investigated, and the impact of top-down and bottom-up processes of Europeanisation in the field of disability policy was explored and discussed.

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