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FP6 CivicActive Civic participation and people with disabilities EU Parliament, Brussels 5 March 2008 Gabor Toka Central European University Budapest Patricia.

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Presentation on theme: "FP6 CivicActive Civic participation and people with disabilities EU Parliament, Brussels 5 March 2008 Gabor Toka Central European University Budapest Patricia."— Presentation transcript:

1 FP6 CivicActive Civic participation and people with disabilities EU Parliament, Brussels 5 March 2008 Gabor Toka Central European University Budapest Patricia Noonan Walsh UCD Dublin

2 FP6 CivicActive Participation in the community

3 FP6 CivicActive : UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2007) Chapter 9 - Communitarian, social and civic Life – this chapter focuses on the actions and tasks necessary to participate in the organized social life outside the family, in areas of communitarian life, social and civic.

4 FP6 CivicActive International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health Disability is the umbrella term for any or all of: an impairment of body structure or function, a limitation in activities, or a restriction in participation. Disability is a multi-dimensional and complex concept and is conceived as a dynamic interaction between health conditions and environmental and personal factors (WHO 2001).

5 FP6 CivicActive The UN Convention 2007 States Parties shall guarantee to persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others, and shall undertake to: (a)Ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others, directly or through freely chosen representatives, including the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected, inter alia (Art 29)

6 FP6 CivicActive Voter turnout among people with disabilities: previous studies Most studies about voting among people with disabilities are based on samples in the United States. Even after adjusting for socio-economic factors, people with disabilities have lower levels of political participation than those without disabilities. Annual surveys in the US since 1986 record differences in participation in basic life activities between people with disabilities and general population – for example, political participation.

7 FP6 CivicActive Comparable information in Europe? Studies about political participation in Europe only look at small segments of the population of persons with disabilities – for example, young people with intellectual disabilities. It is likely that knowledge will increase. In Ireland, the results of the National Disability Survey undertaken by the Central Statistics Office, the first national post- census survey, will make it possible to compare voting behaviour and other items related to civic participation between Irish citizens with disabilities and the general population.

8 FP6 CivicActive Percentage of Irish people involved in volunteer work according to presence of disability (CSO 2006) general population

9 FP6 CivicActive Our study explores European evidence What pattern of political participation of people with disabilities is evident in Europe?

10 FP6 CivicActive Design of our analysis Analysed the impact of living with impairments on 19 measures of political participation and participation-promoting attitudes, separately for all 29 countries Analysed how differences in the social integration of people with disabilities can explain cross-national differences in the impact of disabilities Explored differences across activities

11 FP6 CivicActive Our cross-national analysis Data source: European Social Survey 2002, 2004, 2006 waves Unique in features questions both on political participation and disability: “Are you hampered in your daily activities in any way by any longstanding illness, or disability, infirmity or mental health problem?” 122,944 respondents in 29 countries

12 FP6 CivicActive


14 Turnout Gap between citizens who have and do not have disabilities Large negativeSmall negativePositive Czech Republicthe NetherlandsUK SwedenCyprusFrance

15 FP6 CivicActive Spurious and net effects Our analysis controls for what attitudes and rates of participation could be expected among the disabled simply on account of their socio- demographic make-up (age, sex, employment, education, income, immigrant status, living with a spouse, rural versus urban residence) I.e. we focused on the “net” effects of disability

16 FP6 CivicActive

17 New consumption scale is based on 3 items: how much time spent, on an average weekday, with (a) watching tv news and other politics and current affairs shows; (b) listening to radio news or other politics and current affairs program; (c) reading about politics and current affairs in the newspapers.

18 FP6 CivicActive There are different ways of trying to improve things in [country] or help prevent things from going wrong. During the last 12 months, have you done any of the following? … Worked in a non-party organisation or association; Worn or displayed a campaign badge/sticker; Signed a petition; Taken part in a lawful public demonstration; Boycotted certain products

19 FP6 CivicActive Sum of points for each of: member of a political party, contacted a politician or [possibly local] government official; and/or worked in a political party in the last 12 months

20 FP6 CivicActive Question wording: Is there a particular political party you feel closer to than all the other parties?

21 FP6 CivicActive How interested would you say you are in politics – are you very interested, quite interested, hardly interested, or not at all interested?

22 FP6 CivicActive Items making up the scale: “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted, or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?” + “Do you think that most people would try to take advantage of you if they got the chance, or would they try to be fair?” + “Would you say that most of the time people try to be helpful or that they are mostly looking out for themselves?”

23 FP6 CivicActive Scale based on responses to: “… how much you personally trust (a) [COUNTRY]’s parliament; (b) politicians; (c) the European Parliament?

24 FP6 CivicActive 3-item scale: “How often does politics seem so complicated that you can’t really understand what is going on?” + “Do you think that you could take an active role in a group involved with political issues?” + “How difficult or easy do you find it to make your mind up about political issues?“

25 FP6 CivicActive Conclusions In spite of robust patterns that hold cross-nationally, the effects of disability on participation and attitudes vary significantly across countries. Differences in employment rates between people with disabilities and their peers in the general population play some role in generating these cross-national differences. Relatively high levels of participation by people with disabilities in party-related activities (in spite of attitudes) suggests possibilities for reducing the turnout gap.

26 FP6 CivicActive Future research More work is needed - –to understand why disability limits participation much more in some countries. –to identify the factors that will increase facilitation and mobilization of political participation among Europeans with disabilities.

27 FP6 CivicActive thank you for your attention

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