Topical Collection "Ability Expectation and Ableism Studies (Short Ability Studies)"


Collection Editor
Dr. Gregor Wolbring

Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies in Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: community empowerment; technology governance; disability studies; ability studies; ethics; sustainability; health systems; ecohealth

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ability Studies is an emerging field that investigates ability expectation (want stage) and ableism (need stage) hierarchies, preferences, and their impact on human-human, human-animal, and human-nature relationships. The exhibition of ability expectations or ableism’s can have positive (enablement/enablism) and negative (disablement/disablism) consequences. The ability expectation of sustainable development was put forward with the expectation of positive consequences and people within the capability approach have developed lists of abilities that they think would have positive consequences if implemented. However, ability expectations and ableisms were/are also leading to negative consequences (disablement/ disablism). To give two examples; the term ableism was coined by the disabled people’s rights movement to indicate the cultural preference for species-typical physical, mental, neuro, and cognitive abilities and the disablement/disablism experienced by people who were/are “lacking” these required abilities. Women were/are disadvantaged in many settings because they were/are labelled as lacking the ability of “rationality” (see, e.g., the right to vote controversy).

This Special Issue invites theoretical and empirical papers that engage with the concepts of ability expectation and ableism in a cross ability expectation/ableism way. Papers should make connections between different ability expectations and ableism’s. For example, how does the ability expectation of competitiveness influence the ability expectation of cognition? And vice versa? Authors that engage with ability expectations and ableism through other discourses, such as disability studies, governance of technologies, occupational justice, occupational satisfaction, occupational sustainability, the Post-2015 development agenda, sustainability, eco-health, care ethics, and other ethics theories, cultural competency, education, global north-global south interaction, and various social theories, such as value, labeling, conflict, choice, identity, motivational, achievement, goal, self-determination, neo-institutional, body theories, and social constructivism theories are especially encouraged to submit to this issue.

Gregor Wolbring

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Societies is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Ability Studies
  • Disability Studies
  • ability privilege
  • policy
  • social theories
  • sustainability studies
  • technology governance
  • animals
  • nature
  • education

Published Papers (1 paper)


Open AccessArticle “Reasonable Accommodation” and “Accessibility”: Human Rights Instruments Relating to Inclusion and Exclusion in the Labor Market
Societies 2016, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/soc6010003
Received: 28 August 2015 / Revised: 23 December 2015 / Accepted: 6 January 2016 / Published: 16 January 2016
PDF Full-text (208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Ableism is a powerful social force that causes persons with disabilities to suffer exclusion. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is based on the human rights principles of equality and freedom for all people. This Convention contains two
[...] Read more.
Ableism is a powerful social force that causes persons with disabilities to suffer exclusion. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is based on the human rights principles of equality and freedom for all people. This Convention contains two human rights instruments: the principle of accessibility and the means of reasonable accommodation, which can be used to protect the human rights of disabled persons. The extent to which they are used depends on whether the state implements the Convention adequately and whether companies accept their responsibility with respect to employing disabled persons and making workplaces available and designing them appropriately. Civil society can demand the adequate implementation of the human rights asserted in the CRPD and, thus, in national legislation, as well. A crucial point here is that only a state that has ratified the Convention is obliged to implement the Convention. Civil society has no obligation to do this, but has the right to participate in the implementation process (Art. 4 and Art. 33 CRPD). The Convention can play its part for disabled persons participating in the labor market without discrimination. If it is not implemented or not heeded sufficiently, the state must push this and put more effort into its implementation. If the state does not do this, this violates human rights and has direct consequences for the living conditions of disabled persons. The powerful ideological force of ableism then remains dominant and hampers or prevents the participation of persons with disabilities in the labor market and, thus, in society as a whole. Full article
Back to Top