chapter  21
16 Pages

What a difference a decade makes: reflections on doing ‘emancipatory’ disability research


It is now more than a decade since Mike Oliver used the term ‘emancipatory’ disability research to refer to what for many seemed like a radical new approach to researching disability issues (Oliver, 1992). Hitherto, of course, a great deal has been written about this ‘new’ perspective; some of it positive, some of it less so (see for example, Clough & Barton, 1995, 1998; Stone & Priestley, 1996; Barnes & Mercer, 1997; Oliver, 1997, 1999; Moore et al., 1998; Truman et al., 2000). Whilst most of this literature is on the whole supportive of the principles underpinning the emancipatory research paradigm, it raises several important considerations that need to be addressed when thinking about disability research. And, as a consequence, casts serious doubt as to its desirability, practicality or indeed, effectiveness.