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The reception of disability-related social rights (disabled adult benefit, disability compensation benefit) is marked by a paradox: although they are factors of autonomy, they are perceived negatively. This chapter explains this paradox by the link between rights consciousness and the administrative relationship. The effectiveness of benefits is diminished by the ways in which they are implemented and by users’ perceptions of this process. The experience – and expectation – of heavy supervision, conflicts over needs assessments and disability levels, interruptions in payments, and unmanageable delays create a lack of trust and predictability, as well as a perception of disrespect. Social rights then fail in their capacity to reduce uncertainty and to act on people’s perception of their social status by making them subjects of rights. Whether the eventual outcome is non-take-up, or distrustful or reluctant take-up, rights consciousness is therefore tenuous and unstable.
This concluding chapter sums up the main conclusions of the book that justify speaking of ‘fragile rights’: often imprecise from the moment they are legally enshrined, disability-related rights suffer from major shortcomings in terms of effectiveness in all the studied areas (education, employment, social policy, accessibility). Faced with these imperfectly realized rights, many individuals protest (at least in the interview situation) and take action, negotiate, tinker, adapt, to make their rights more concrete, and in the same movement, to assert themselves as subjects of rights. This everyday politics takes place at a distance from the collectives involved in the politicization of disability, whether they be associations or public officials, towards whom several people make a demand for descriptive representation.
The French version of this book was the winner of the 2022 Grand Prix de la Protection Sociale.
Over the years, many disability-related rights have been legally recognized, but how has this changed the everyday lives of people with disabilities?
Drawing on biographical interviews collected from individuals with either mobility or visual impairments in France, this book analyzes the reception of disability policies in the fields of education, employment, social rights and accessibility. It examines to what extent these policies contribute to the realization of the associated rights among disabled people. The book demonstrates that the rights associated with disability suffer from major implementation flaws, while shedding light on the very active role of disabled citizens in the realization of their rights.
In spite of some improvements, the built environment and public transportation are far from being fully accessible. Moreover, in 2014 the government has reneged on a legally enshrined right by postponing the accessibility mandate. This chapter analyses the reception of this partially implemented policy and the difficulties it creates for disabled people in their everyday lives. Through a policy feedback effect, the 2014 reform has produced discontent, fuelling a relative deprivation that, at this stage, is leading more to individual than collective actions. But public space is not only materially hostile to disabled people; it is also symbolically so, as one of the main places in which they experience stigmatization. Taking these various dimensions into account makes it possible to specify the social, and not only material, conditions of a real right to mobility.
This introductory chapter develops a theoretical framework combining policy analysis (with an approach in terms of policy reception) and the sociology of law (through the study of rights realization at the individual level) to address the main question raised by the book: to what extent and how does policy reception enable disability rights to become effective in people’s experience? It presents the French context of disability policy and rights, and the methods of the study, drawing on biographical interviews.
This chapter revisits the distinction between special and inclusive education by distinguishing type of schooling, accommodations available, and changes in teaching formats. This framework is then used to analyse the reception of the gradual shift towards a promotion of mainstream schooling in France. In terms of policy reception, the comparison between different generations reveals an objective effect of the promotion of mainstream schooling on educational trajectories (where one is schooled) and expectations (what one subjectively values). Yet the narratives also show the major obstacles to a full realization of the right to inclusion, and the very active role of students and families to overcome them.
In France as elsewhere, disabled people suffer from structural marginalization in the labour market. Employment-related disability rights crystallize the ambivalence of disability policies: between an assumed inability to work that entitles people to benefits and the promotion of workforce participation; and between sheltered employment, quotas, and anti-discrimination. Employment might therefore appear to be the area where disability rights are the most fragile. The chapter shows, on the contrary, how this coexistence of divergent orientations can be analysed as their strong point, potentially opening more opportunities for individuals. After a review of the history of disability policies in the field of employment, the chapter analyses how disabled people negotiate a marginal place in the labour market, in dynamics that combine structural inequalities and the reception of public policies. It then focuses on the effects and appropriations of the flagship measure in this domain, the quota scheme.
The nature of political hacking represents a clear challenge to the legitimate use of political violence. It acts outside the traditional state infrastructures and mechanisms, and often against the state itself, which for many means that regardless of what good it brings it should be ethically discounted as an illegitimate actor threatening the social stability. Concerns over the ability of hackers to cause significant damage or harm to people’s lives and the critical infrastructure of the political community do have some merit. They are a highly closeted, elite and unknown quantity; their branding is menacing and for those on the outside there does not seem to be any means of controlling what they do. Indeed, the state has a long-held dominance as the only legitimate actor to use violence for good reason, including protecting people from harm, arbitrating disagreements and facilitating that the correct quantum of impact is being delivered to the correct people. However, this is becoming increasingly challenged, not least because the state and its representatives have shown themselves to be a direct threat to people’s vital interests. As such there can be an ethical space for political hacking when it acts to protect people from harm. In order to make this determination, however, there is a need for an explicit and systematic ethical framework that can recognize the ethical value of political hacking. One which helps guide the hacker community with clearer fundamental ethical principles, as well as how these principles can then be manifested in various mechanisms for guiding ethical behaviour, highlighting to the rest of the political community when to leave the hackers alone, and how this might work through real-world illustrative examples.
This chapter expands the debate from informational rights to look at non-cyber, non-information related threats, including when the state and its representatives fail to, first, provide and enact good laws equally and fairly, including the failure to apply fair processes, equal treatment, misapplying laws, and lacking the ability and political will to enforce the good laws; or second, when the state develops unjustifiably harmful laws, policies, procedures or institutional cultures. It will argue that in both instances, given the failure of the state and the subsequent threat these failures represent, hackers can use political violence to defend people from harm, though the type of response must be matched to the threat posed. This chapter will look at police brutality; the failure of due and fair process; the development of laws that seek to directly discriminate and foster hatred and violence against members of the LGBTQ+ community; and the locating and unmasking of online paedophiles.
Large, politically orientated hacker collectives such as Anonymous have targeted a range of actors over a diverse set of issues, all without a consistent set of ethical principles to guide or evaluate their activity. The challenge is that these actions by hackers necessarily use harmful or damaging actions on people or systems as a direct means of furthering their political goals, outside official systems sanctioned by the political community. But this does not inherently dismiss their actions as unjustified. Rather, it will be argued here that such actions can be justified when used to protect people from harm as a form of self-defence. To make this argument, this chapter will create an ethical framework based on the argument that people have a core set of vital interests that need to be protected, including maintaining one’s physical and psychological integrity, autonomy, liberty and privacy. This need for protection creates a right to self-defence, including the right to defend others when they are threatened; and when there are no other actors – whether it is due to a lack of ability, political will or because the state is the source of the threat – there to offer that protection then political hackers can fill the void. It will also argue that the right to be defended from harm is more important than waiting for state actors to offer the protection, and so just because hackers are outside the state does not automatically discount them as ethical actors.