In the research project "COV_enable: Reimaging vulnerabilities in times of crises", in cooperation with the Bertha von Suttner Private University St. Pölten (BSU), the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with disabilities and will be researched. Since March 2020, there have been massive restrictions in almost all areas of daily life due to COVID-19, and people with disabilities are particularly affected and show higher vulnerability.

The COV_enable project aims to find out how these people have experienced the crisis and what (long-term) impact the pandemic has had on their lives. Since the perspectives of people with disabilities have been virtually ignored in the discourse to date, the project follows a participatory approach, encouraging them report on their subjective experiences. While the team of the BSU focuses on people with disabilities in the area of supported living, the team of the University of Vienna concentrates on the situation of students with disabilities at different schools in Vienna. With the help of creative contributions (e.g. video diaries, audio recordings, photos, interviews), students tell how they experience the crisis and what impact the pandemic has on their school and everyday life.

The resulting data will be evaluated and analyzed according to grounded theory methodology.

In addition to the subjective experiences of people with disabilities, critical discourse analysis will also be used to investigate whether and how vulnerability and disability become visible in political discourse in the form of measures, ordinances and decrees, and what significance these had in the formulation of measures. Furthermore, a public blog will be set up on the project website to disseminate research results and to provide access to the experiences of other groups of people who are labeled as particularly vulnerable in relation to COVID measures or who perceive themselves to be vulnerable by means of a commentary function.

The aim of the project is to develop a model for an inclusive crisis monitoring prototype based on the collected data together with representatives of various organizations and actors from the field of human rights, public administration as well as civil society in order to be able to deal with current and future crises and challenges in an equal and sustainable way.

Project dates05/2021-05/2024

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Project staff