Creating capabilities for societal participation in times of welfare state change? Experiences of people with disabilities in Finland

Elisabeth Hästbacka, Mikael Nygård

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Societalparticipation is central for disability policies throughout the world. In aFinnish setting, it is firmly anchored in the welfare state's commitment tocreate equal capabilities, but it is also dependent on other prerequisites,such as an inclusive labour market. However, these commitments have become bothincreasingly important through efforts of strengthening the rights of peoplewith disabilities as well as increasingly challenged by crumbling growth andrecurrent austerity measures in social policy. This article explores societalparticipation of people with disabilities in Finland in times of the recentratification process of the UN CRPD and welfare cuts, and investigates thesubjective experiences of societal participation in a changing welfare statecontext. The data consists of 13 individual qualitative interviews amongworking-age people with different kinds of disabilities. The findings highlightthe importance of state commitment for creating equal capabilities for societalparticipation and for removing barriers standing in its way. They also suggestthat this commitment is becoming both strengthened by the UN CRPD and weakenedby the economic crisis and austerity measures and that this may have anundermining effect upon capabilities for persons with disabilities toparticipate in society.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)15–28
JournalAlter: European Journal of Disability Research / Alter: Journal Européen de Recherche sur le Handicap
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • capability
  • Finland
  • Societal participation
  • Disabled people

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