Technologies for inclusive employment: beyond the prosthetic fix–social transformation axis

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Abstract

Technologies are often expected to enhance inclusive employment for people living with a disability. Following conventional dichotomies, policy actors generally consider technologies to either provide a prosthetic fix to ‘able’ people with disabilities, or become instruments for social transformation. In three pilot projects within a national initiative for enhancing inclusive employment through technologies, we empirically explore the potential of such conceptually opposed approaches for realising inclusive employment in practice. Reporting on a transdisciplinary ‘learning evaluation’, we combine semi-structured interviews with participant observation and transformation-oriented methods from Reflexive Monitoring in Action, involving a myriad of stakeholders. We introduce the notion of scripts to explore how we as researchers become part of the de- and re-inscription of technologies for inclusive employment. We find that regardless of an initial prosthetic- or transformative approach, technology can support a transformation toward inclusive employment through the work and effort of the actors involved. Points of interest Whether the initial approach to inclusion through technology is to ‘fix’ disability or ‘transform’ work practices, the concerted effort of the people involved can generate transformative potential For technology to attain this transformative potential it is imperative that the sociocultural environment is shaped accordingly To understand the dynamics that work for transformation, it is critical that technology is seen in practice, in specific situations To understand how disability is made through technology we recommend deconstructing the ‘scripts’, that is the user-assumptions and roles, embedded in the technology To support that technologies contribute to inclusive employment, a method is needed that supports reflexivity and involves people from various backgrounds actively participating.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability & Society
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • actor-network theory
  • co-construction of technology and inclusion
  • Inclusive employment
  • learning evaluation
  • technology-in-practice

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