Introduction to disability policy through a human rights lens

Karen R. Fisher, Sally Robinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript

1 Citation (Scopus)


This book considers the impact on policy of understanding disability through a human rights framework. It argues that the current language, law and concepts about human rights are changing the way that policies are framed and implemented. The book considers how a human rights understanding of disability interacts with and influences welfare, health and economic approaches to disability. Historically, these other approaches dominated policy about people with disability and they remain influential today. These older approaches, however, are now also overlayed with a competing or complementary human rights framework, which challenges some of the historic assumptions about what disability is and the obligations of policy (Shakespeare, 2013). The extent of the interaction and influence of human rights on the other approaches to policy varies by place, time and context. In this introduction, we describe the diverse conceptual approaches to disability policy, which sometimes operate in conflict or to exclude other approaches. We make the argument for critiquing disability policy through the lens of human rights, which is the aim of the chapters in this book. This collective contribution offers a global perspective of disability policy at particular points in time and place, informed by the expertise of people with disability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Disability Policy
EditorsSally Robinson, Karen R. Fisher
Place of PublicationCheltenham, UK
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781800373655
ISBN (Print)9781800373648
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2023


  • Disability policy
  • Human rights
  • Intersectionality
  • Disability leadership
  • Disability innovation


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