Access Imagined: The Construction of Disability in Conference Policy Documents

Margaret Price


Conferences are a crucial area of professional development for persons with disabilities, but they are also among the most least accessible spaces that disabled persons may encounter. I argue that we need further research into these highly charged spaces, and I contribute to this agenda by analyzing 17 accessibility policy documents produced by 8 different professional organizations. Using critical discourse analysis, I examine the choices these documents have made, both verbal and visual, as well as possible outcomes of these choices for various audiences. In closing, I offer a list of generative questions that the authors of such documents should consider. It is impossible for a policy document to “imagine” access perfectly ahead of time; rather, we should understand and treat policy documents as part of a continually evolving dialogue.

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2009 Margaret Price

Beginning with Volume 36, Issue No. 4 (2016), Disability Studies Quarterly is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license unless otherwise indicated. 

Disability Studies Quarterly is published by The Ohio State University Libraries in partnership with the Society for Disability Studies.

If you encounter problems with the site or have comments to offer, including any access difficulty due to incompatibility with adaptive technology, please contact the web manager, Terri Fizer.

ISSN: 2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)