issue 2 08 - APS Member Groups - Australian Psychological Society

groups.psychology.org.au

issue 2 08 - APS Member Groups - Australian Psychological Society

Community psychologies13Peoples’ Movement (http://www.bcodp.org.uk/) and associated scholars,Paul Hunt (1966) and Michael Oliver (1992),and explicates the way disability is constructedand maintained in Scottish Higher EducationInstitutions through interconnectivity between(or as Foucault might have put it assemblagesor apparatuses consisting of) interconnectedpractices, procedures, policies, discourses andother key frames of reference.The praxis involved problematisinginterviews with various members of ScottishHigher Education Institutions or associatedpublic organisations, through which unjustinterpretations of ‘disability’ were coknowledgemented,critically co-problematisedand co-challenged, with their ideologicalnature co-exposed and alternative, more just,interpretations co-explored; paid and voluntarywork with various personnel tasked withproviding disability related services andsupport during which oppressive activitieswere surfaced, institutional interests servedidentified and reactionary means of action andinterpretation problematised; participation in aHigher Education Institution’s high levelworking group tasked with amending disabilitypolicy and procedures knowledgementingoppressive ways institutional decisions aremade to maintain/enhance existing disablingpolicies and procedures; supporting a disabledstudents’ group to establish themselves andthen to surface and contest the problematicway in which the institution had silenced theircritical voice from a wide reaching institutionalaudit required by national legislation and inwhich their inputs had been distorted torepresent the institution’s interests; meetinglaw and policy makers from the nationalparliament to problematise existing policy andprocedures and to champion alternativearrangements which were more likely tosupport just ends; and the creation and runningof an on-line inter-institutional criticaldisability studies course offered to members ofvarious Scottish Higher Education Institutionsto enable those who enrolled not only toindividually earn a module credit fulfilling bonafide university degree module requirements butto allow them to collectively engage in: deideologisationand sustained criticalconscientisation of dominant conceptions ofwhat constitutes disability; theoreticaldiscussion and shared co-construction of newaccounts of disability; familiarisation with andcritique of accessible accounts of the legislativeduties to which institutions were accountable;scrutiny of organisational disabling practicesand procedures. The aim of this dimension ofthe praxis was to provide course members withthe resources to pursue and ensure their civiland human rights to education and contestdiscriminatory practices, procedures andpolicies.The praxis collective demonstrated,sought to understand and challenge why, inspite of apparently progressive practices,policies and procedures, well intentionedpeople, and despite students battling hard tosucceed, Scottish Higher Education Institutionsare still disabling places, that is, still placeswhere the likelihood of success or failure isdistributed unevenly and unjustly across thepopulation to the detriment of certain studentswho become disabled by the way theinstitutions operate. Why, despite all theamendments to legislation and proposals toamend existing polices, practices andprocedures in order to make universities placeswhich do not disable or operate indiscriminatory ways, little has changed orwhere it has done, has changed for the worse inrecent times.The praxis collective constructed anaccount which exposed the wider economies atwork producing disability in Higher Education,and how those economies function to preventemancipatory change but instead to produce andmaintain disability through various apparatusesof disciplinary power functioning together,interlocking components of a disabling machinewhich keeps oppressive practices, proceduresand policies the same no matter what changesare attempted.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008

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