“disability in urban and rural settings: differences and communalities”

Trani, Jean-Francois (2018). '"Disability in urban and rural settings: differences and communalities"' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2018.


If disability can be defined as the interaction between an impairment defined by activity limitation and difficulty in functioning associated to a health condition and the resulting deprivation of opportunities and freedoms to choose the life individuals with impairment value, to what extend people with impairment are facing different levels of disability in rural or urban settings?

The present panel seeks papers that would address the possible divide between urban and rural settings in terms of various dimensions of capability deprivation persons might face because of their impairment. Are restrictions in access to capabilities similar whatever the context? Or do we observe variability determined by the geographical context. In some rural areas, particularly in low resource settings, people with disabilities may be less likely to access adapted school, quality and specialized healthcare or rehabilitation because of the dearth of such services (Ahmad, 2013; Shrestha, Shrestha, & Deepak, 2009). But access to services might be equally difficult in both settings (Maart, Eide, Jelsma, Loeb, & Toni, 2007). Accessing welfare advantages might also be easier in either rural or urban space depending on local legal and socioeconomic conditions (Jelsma, Maart, Eide, Toni, & Loeb, 2008). One might also face higher barrier to labor market participation because of the lack of diversity of available activities making earning an income and accumulate assets particularly challenging (de Klerk, 2008; Lamichhane & Okubo, 2014). Social exclusion and barriers to participate in social life can also differ in urban and rural areas reflecting various dynamics around social isolation in major cities, attitudes within homogenous small village communities towards disability, as well as norms and values of solidarity and social support (Bakheit & Shanmugalingam, 1997; Pal, Chaudhury, Sengupta, & Das, 2002). Finally, do Community Based Rehabilitation program aiming at mobilizing local community and local resources to address needs of persons with disabilities and promote social and political inclusion through participation an effective solution to overcome urban rural inequalities and fight stigma (Abas et al., 2013; Biggeri et al., 2014; Kassah, 1998; van Pletzen, Booyens, & Lorenzo, 2014)?


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Ahmad, M. (2013). Health care access and barriers for the physically disabled in rural Punjab, Pakistan. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 33(3), 246-260. doi:10.1108/01443331311308276

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de Klerk, T. (2008). Funding for self-employment of people with disabilities. Grants, loans, revolving funds or linkage with microfinance programmes. Leprosy Review, 79(1), 92-109.

Jelsma, J., Maart, S., Eide, A., Toni, M., & Loeb, M. (2008). Who gets the disability grant in South Africa? An analysis of the characteristics of recipients in urban and rural areas. Disability and Rehabilitation, 30(15), 1139-1145. doi:10.1080/17483100701475962

Kassah, A. K. (1998). Community-based rehabilitation and stigma management by physically disabled people in Ghana. Disability & Rehabilitation, 20(2), 66-73.

Lamichhane, K., & Okubo, T. (2014). The Nexus between Disability, Education, and Employment: Evidence from Nepal. Oxford Development Studies, 42(3), 439-453. doi:10.1080/13600818.2014.927843

Maart, S., Eide, A. H., Jelsma, J., Loeb, M. E., & Toni, M. K. (2007). Environmental Barriers Experienced by Urban and Rural Disabled People in South Africa. Disability and Society, 22(4), 357-369. doi:Related link: URL:

Pal, D. K., Chaudhury, G., Sengupta, S., & Das, T. (2002). Social integration of children with epilepsy in rural India. Social Science & Medicine (1982), 54(12), 1867-1874.

Shrestha, S., Shrestha, N. K., & Deepak, S. (2009). A community assessment of poverty and disability among specific rural population groups in Nepal. Asia Pacific Disability Rehabilitation Journal, 20(1), 83-98.

van Pletzen, E., Booyens, M., & Lorenzo, T. (2014). An exploratory analysis of community-based disability workers’ potential to alleviate poverty and promote social inclusion of people with disabilities in three Southern African countries. Disability and Society, 29(10), 1524-1539. doi:10.1080/09687599.2014.958131

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