The (re)creation of disability through disabled people’s encounters with strangers in the context of accessible parking spaces
Supervisors: Dr Harriet Clarke (Social Policy) and Professor Dina Kiwan (Education)
My research examines disabled people’s interactions with strangers while public using accessible parking spaces. As well as mapping the kinds of interactions that take place in these spaces, I will explore what strategies disabled people may employ to navigate (or avoid) these encounters and their effect on disabled people’s emotions and self-identity.
Building on the concept of psycho-emotional disablism (Reeve 2008; Thomas, 1999), I employ poststructuralist approaches to explore accessible parking bays as spaces of biopower and identify the emotional labour that goes into ‘performing’ disability, whilst critically questioning binaries such as in/visibility and who is perceived as a ‘legitimate’ disabled person. In addition, I also explore the media representations of accessible parking and how these may influence the encounters that take place. The hypervisibility of Blue Badge parking bays provides an ideal location to investigate this phenomenon, particularly given the recent expansion of the scheme to a range of ‘invisible’ impairments.
The research will contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the importance of interrelationality to experiences of disablement, and will also have relevance for policy in terms of whether the Blue Badge scheme is fit for purpose in truly removing barriers.
I am working on my PhD part-time while also being employed as a Research Fellow in the School of Education, working on an AHRC-funded project into the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. In total, I have worked for the university for 10 years, mostly in research support roles including facilitation and project management prior to switching into an academic role. I am also a committed disability activist and recognise the importance of lived experience in my work.
- MA Sociology (University of Warwick)
- BA Journalism and Media (Coventry University)
- Critical Disability Studies
- Gender and Queer Studies
- Media and Cultural Studies
- Kubenz, V (2022) Baywatch: Disabled people’s encounters with strangers in the context of accessible parking spaces. New Research in Disability Studies Workshop. Lancaster University. March 2022
- Kubenz, V and Kiwan, D. (2022) Methodological reflections on developing an inclusive situational analysis framework. 6th International Conference on Disability and Development: Disability and COVID-19. LSHTM March 2022
- Kubenz, V and Kiwan, D. (2021) The impact of COVID-19 on disabled people in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Environments by Design: Health, Wellbeing, and Place. Virtual. December 2021
- Kubenz, V and Kiwan, D. (2021) The impact of COVID-19 on disabled people the Global South. World Pandemic Research Network Conference. Virtual. December 2021
- Kubenz, V and Kiwan D. (2022) Locked Down: The Impact of COVID-19 on disabled people in Low- and Middle- income Countries. (in prep)
- Kubenz, V. and Kiwan D. (2022) Locked down and locked out: The role of the built environment in the exclusion of disabled people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Architecture MPS (submitted)
- Kubenz, V. and Kiwan D. (2021) The Impact of COVID-19 on Disabled People in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Literature Review. University of Birmingham
Gibney, J. Clarke, H., Kubenz, V. and Munro, E. (eds) (2021) Disability and Leadership: New Challenges, New Possibilities, produced by the Work Inclusivity Research Centre (WIRC) University of Birmingham, The National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN) and Purple Space, Birmingham: University of Birmingham.
Twitter profile: @Vera_Kub
LinkedIn profile: vera-kubenz-a5bbb0165