A comparative study of the adaptation of a civil rights approach to disability in different national and international contexts
Drawing on extensive fieldwork and a variety of original sources, Katharina Heyer examines three case studies—Germany, Japan, and the United Nations—to trace the evolution of a disability rights model from its origins in the U.S. through its adaptations in other democracies to its current formulation in international law. She demonstrates that, although notions of disability, equality, and rights are reinterpreted and contested within various political contexts, ultimately the result may be a more robust and substantive understanding of equality.
Rights Enabled is a truly interdisciplinary work, combining sociolegal literature on rights and legal mobilization with a deep cultural and sociopolitical analysis of the concept of disability developed in Disability Studies. Heyer raises important issues for scholarship on comparative rights, the global reach of social movements, and the uses and limitations of rights-based activism.
Katharina Heyer is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Hawai’i.
“This is a major contribution to Disability Studies scholarship and should be interesting to readers who want to learn more about international aspects of disability, particularly readers in political science, law, and history.”
—Carol Poore, Brown University
“Heyer shows how disability rights moved, on both a national and international level, from a medical-driven model based on stigma and charity to an issue of equal rights, inclusion, and dignity. She explores the journey toward treating disability rights as human rights.”
—Michael Waterstone, Loyola Law School