Disability experience in postsocialist context: social participation as a concept and as a tool

Friday, November 1, 2013
First author:
Pancocha K.

Institute for Research on Inclusive Education, Faculty of Education, Masaryk university, Brno, Czech Republic

All authors:

Karel Pancocha, Lenka Slepickova

inclusion, participation, enfranchisement, post-socialist experience, Community Participation Indicators

Participation is used worldwide in many disciplines as a theoretical concept, important for understanding involvement and inclusion in many life situations and, at the same time, key empirical indicator of inclusion used in surveys. It can be a useful tool to measure outcomes of programs focused on supporting inclusive practices in schools, workplace and other areas of social life.

This paper presents the changes leading to a more inclusive society within the specific, post socialist context of the Czech Republic through the concept of participation as one way of understanding and assessing inclusion. However, we are not interested in creating a “busyness“ index, but to analyze participation enfranchisement in people with disabilities. Therefore, we do not focus on the amount of participation as compared with some kind of social ideal or desirable state of the art, but look at important aspects of participation as identified by people with disabilities themselves. We analyze the experience of participation of people with various types of disabilities in their everyday life. For this purpose we adapted and administered a survey based on Community Participation Indicators (Heinemann, 2010), focusing on three areas of participation enfranchisement – Choice and Control, Contributing to One’s Community and Valued by Others. In this paper we will discus this scale as a tool for measuring social participation in various social contexts and present findings concerning the experience of people with disabilities with participation reflecting them in the context of the social world of a specific postcommunist society.


Heinemann, Allen W. 2010. Measurement of Participation in Rehabilitation Research. Archives of Physical Medicine and rehabilitation, 91 (9): S1 – S4.