Accessing the Nation: Disability, Political Inclusion and Built Form
AbstractThis paper considers the relationship between the design and development of the built environment and the political project of creating an inclusive polity. Its focus is the examination of attempts, as part of this process, to re-imagine a shared identity as members of a polity and the role of iconic buildings in this. The paper examines aspects of the ways in which the social construction of nation can privilege particular forms of embodied citizenship-namely, those associated with a normalised body form, which is contrasted with the impaired body. It is especially concerned with the way that the design and use of the built environment is part of this process. Case studies of the design and development of the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly of Wales debating chambers illustrate differences in the notions of citizenship being developed in the two countries, but also that the process of negotiating membership of the nation is never complete and hence that gains made to create more inclusive or progressive constructions of nationhood are fragile.