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Power and Disability in the Global South: A Case Study of Ghana's Disability Rights Movement

Downing, Andrew LU (2011) SIMT29 20111
Department of Political Science
Master of Science in Development Studies
Graduate School
Abstract
In recent years, disability rights has emerged as an increasingly important political issue in Ghana, primarily due to the mobilization of an organized and formidable national disability rights movement. In 2006 Ghana’s Persons with Disability (PWD) Act was signed into law, marking the promulgation of the most comprehensive piece of disability rights legislation in the country’s history. The objective of this study was to determine the causal forces behind the galvanization of Ghana’s disability rights (DR) movement and the passage of the 2006 PWD Act, to determine how recent changes have affected the strategies of the movement, and to explore how the movement has built connective structures and created an "oppositional consciousness"... (More)
In recent years, disability rights has emerged as an increasingly important political issue in Ghana, primarily due to the mobilization of an organized and formidable national disability rights movement. In 2006 Ghana’s Persons with Disability (PWD) Act was signed into law, marking the promulgation of the most comprehensive piece of disability rights legislation in the country’s history. The objective of this study was to determine the causal forces behind the galvanization of Ghana’s disability rights (DR) movement and the passage of the 2006 PWD Act, to determine how recent changes have affected the strategies of the movement, and to explore how the movement has built connective structures and created an "oppositional consciousness" among disabled persons in the country.

This study shows that Ghana’s DR movement has solidified as the result of the confluence of both endogenous and exogenous forces, and that a coalition of disabled peoples’ organizations (DPOs) known as the Ghana Federation of the Disabled has been instrumental in unifying the DR movement and has played a key role in influencing the government to pass the 2006 PWD Act. It is also shown how DPOs, through the organization of activities, meetings, and projects for economic empowerment at the district level, create free spaces that facilitate the diffusion of a DR frame, build collective identities, and foster change in social attitudes. In addition, this study reveals that the movement operates in a bivalent manner politically, meaning the movement seeks to effect changes both in state political opportunity structures and traditional authority opportunity structures. A case is made for a bivalent political opportunity structure model to be used in future studies of disability rights movements in a comparable context to more accurately account for variations in movement outcomes, particularly at the subnational level. (Less)
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author
Downing, Andrew LU
supervisor
organization
course
SIMT29 20111
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Ghana, disability rights, social movements, international development, political process theory, counterhegemony, disabled peoples’ organizations, Ghana Federation of the Disabled, free spaces
language
English
id
2155735
date added to LUP
2011-09-13 13:37:40
date last changed
2014-05-27 10:39:31
@misc{2155735,
  abstract     = {In recent years, disability rights has emerged as an increasingly important political issue in Ghana, primarily due to the mobilization of an organized and formidable national disability rights movement. In 2006 Ghana’s Persons with Disability (PWD) Act was signed into law, marking the promulgation of the most comprehensive piece of disability rights legislation in the country’s history. The objective of this study was to determine the causal forces behind the galvanization of Ghana’s disability rights (DR) movement and the passage of the 2006 PWD Act, to determine how recent changes have affected the strategies of the movement, and to explore how the movement has built connective structures and created an "oppositional consciousness" among disabled persons in the country. 
 
This study shows that Ghana’s DR movement has solidified as the result of the confluence of both endogenous and exogenous forces, and that a coalition of disabled peoples’ organizations (DPOs) known as the Ghana Federation of the Disabled has been instrumental in unifying the DR movement and has played a key role in influencing the government to pass the 2006 PWD Act. It is also shown how DPOs, through the organization of activities, meetings, and projects for economic empowerment at the district level, create free spaces that facilitate the diffusion of a DR frame, build collective identities, and foster change in social attitudes. In addition, this study reveals that the movement operates in a bivalent manner politically, meaning the movement seeks to effect changes both in state political opportunity structures and traditional authority opportunity structures. A case is made for a bivalent political opportunity structure model to be used in future studies of disability rights movements in a comparable context to more accurately account for variations in movement outcomes, particularly at the subnational level.},
  author       = {Downing, Andrew},
  keyword      = {Ghana,disability rights,social movements,international development,political process theory,counterhegemony,disabled peoples’ organizations,Ghana Federation of the Disabled,free spaces},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Power and Disability in the Global South: A Case Study of Ghana's Disability Rights Movement},
  year         = {2011},
}