Enabling Access: Disability, Mobility and Inclusion in Contemporary Singapore

Mr Kuansong Victor Zhuang1,2

1Macquarie University, Macquarie Park, Australia, 2University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, United States of America

The increased affirmation of disability as a valid ontological identity has seen increased mobility of disabled bodies, as they move from the excluded to be folded into life. As disabled bodies are increasingly visible in their movements through society, how can we understand their inclusion within life? In this paper, I examine the mobility of disabled bodies in Singapore around contestations of accessibility and inclusivity in the material and economic spheres. Central to my examination is the Enabling Village, an inclusive community space launched in December 2015. The transformation of space in the Village is reflective of the provision of minimum standards of access with the introduction of an Accessibility Code in 1990 as well as larger societal changes towards inclusion in other areas of society such as employment and play. In centering disability and mobility as the key analytics of the work, I question the meanings of accessibility vis-a-vis the larger questions of inclusion and diversity in Singapore and around the world. What does access do to disabled bodies? How does access enable the inclusion of disabled people? What kinds of disabled bodies are included? What types of inclusion(s) and future(s) are foretold in this use of access?


Biography

Kuansong Victor, Zhuang is a PhD candidate in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Macquarie University. His work centers on the contemporary claims to include the disabled within life in Singapore and examines the biopolitics of inclusion through a reading of various cultural texts.

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION

The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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