This is not citizenship. Analysing the claims of disability activists in Sweden

Primary investigator: Marie Sépulchre, MSsc

What happens when previously excluded individuals get equal citizenship rights but cannot fully enjoy their rights because of structural inequalities? This dissertation considers the construction of citizenship and focuses on the situation of disabled people, that is, people who face structural inequality because of the dimension of ‘disability’ but whose situation has not received much attention from sociologists and social scientists in general. 

For this purpose, the dissertation analyses the claims of disability activists in Sweden, based on a selection of blogposts and debate articles (n=474). It examines how the disability activists’ claims refer to various components of citizenship – or ‘citizenship building blocks’ – and highlights the contradictions, tensions and dilemmas underpinning these claims. The dissertation then discusses the types of changes envisioned by the disability activists by analysing the problems brought forward by their claims and the solutions they propose.

This dissertation opens new perspectives on citizenship and disability, and encourages future research to continue the analysis of citizenship in relation to structural inequalities, for example, by comparing the citizenship struggle of disabled people with the struggle of other groups of citizens or by comparing the construction of citizenship of disabled people in different historical and geographical contexts. 

Grants: The project is funded via an EU, 7th Framework Programme grant & a faculty financed doctoral position awarded to the Department of Sociology by Uppsala University’s Faculty of Social Sciences

Advisors: Prof. Rafael Lindqvist and Prof. Sandra Torres (both at Uppsala University)


Sépulchre, M. 2019. This is not citizenship. Analysing the claims of disability activists in Sweden. Uppsala University (doctoral thesis) 

Sépulchre, M. 2018. “Tensions and Unity in the Struggle for Citizenship: Swedish Disability Rights Activists Claim ‘Full Participation! Now!’” Disability & Society, 33(4):539-561

Sépulchre, M. 2017. “Research about citizenship and disability: a scoping review”. Disability and Rehabilitation, 39 (10): 949-956