White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

Enabling Technology in the Workplace: Exploring the dis/ability assemblage

Gauci, Maria Victoria (2018) Enabling Technology in the Workplace: Exploring the dis/ability assemblage. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

[img] Text
Gauci_MV_Sociology & Social Policy_PhD_2018.PDF.pdf - Final eThesis - complete (pdf)
Restricted until 1 April 2022.

Request a copy


This research explores Maltese disabled people’s engagement with ‘enabling technology’ in the field of employment. Disabled people’s right to work on an equal basis with others and to have access to relevant technologies to support them in this regard, is enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a convention that Malta has signed and ratified. Accordingly, the study adopts a rights-based approach and is concerned with equity in disabled people’s exercise of their rights. The study’s starting point is a social model, UNCRPD-inspired approach, considering how barriers in the social environment hinder the participation of disabled people in the workplace. The research then builds upon this more traditional approach, to develop a mode of analysis informed by new materialist perspectives. In particular, the research deploys the concept of the ‘network’ and the ‘assemblage’ to analyse technologies that support Maltese disabled employees to engage in activities at the workplace, as components of complex ‘entanglements’ of human and non-human entities. At the heart of the research is a qualitative empirical study informed by the aspirations of emancipatory research and new materialism. The 25 participants in this study had physical or sensory impairments. The research began with three focus groups, followed by 25 one-to-one interviews. Seven of the participants then consented to be observed whilst at work. The focus during the observations was on ‘events’, particular episodes of enactment of dis/ability within the workplace. The research findings point to the persistence of multiple barriers and to ‘dis/ability’ as a shifting, relational concept, which is as material as it is social. A more sophisticated analysis of the relations within assemblages and networks that disabled people form part of at the workplace is thus called for. Stakeholders in the field are urged by the research findings to shape their policies and practices around the ‘good’ capacities that are produced within these relations, thus affecting new possibilities and ‘becomings’ for disabled people-technology-work assemblages.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Enabling Technology; Employment; Dis/ability Assemblage
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Sociology and Social Policy (Leeds)
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2019 13:07
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2019 13:07
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23123

Please use the 'Request a copy' link(s) above to request this thesis. This will be sent directly to someone who may authorise access.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)