Special Issue "Socio-technical Approaches for Assistive Technologies and People with Disabilities"

A special issue of Societies (ISSN 2075-4698).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Linda Nierling

Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Assistive technologies, methods and concepts of technology assessment, digitalisation of work, sustainable development
Guest Editor
MSc. Maria Maia

Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany.
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Technology Assessment applied to health; Assistive technology; Robotics in medicine; Nanomedicine

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Societies invites contributions focussing on socio-technical approaches to Assistive Technologies (ATs) in relation to people with disabilities. The 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) emphasizes that ATs are enablers for people with disabilities especially in areas of independent living, education and employment. The importance of ATs is currently highlighted by many actors (see Nierling et al. 2018). However the socio-technical context in which they are dealt with is often problematic and limits the role of ATs for people with disabilities. Consequently – from our perspective – an integrated approach towards the social embedding of ATs would be supportive in order to better understand, how they should be developed, made available and introduced to people with disabilities.

In this Special Issue we welcome contributions reflecting on the inclusion, participation and engagement of people with disabilities in society, by specifically focussing on the socio-technical context of ATs. Contributions should conceptually or empirically address the inter linkage between the social context and technical solutions. We invite contributions which could (not exclusively) deal with the following topics:

  • Setting ATs in context to discussions on equity, inclusion, solidarity or other relevant subjects
  • Evidence for the role of ATs in employment or educational systems (national or cross-national)
  • Experiences with the UN CRPD with special focus on ATs on national, European or international level
  • Assessment of specific technical devices, solutions or innovations from a social perspective
  • Approaches to innovation, development and design processes of ATs including when necessary a reflection on standards and regulation or connection to the responsible research and innovation (RRI) approach


Nierling, L.; Maia, M.J.F.; Hennen, L.; Wolbring, G.; Bratan, T.; Kukk, P.; Cas, J.; Capari, L.; Krieger-Lamina, J.; Mordini, E. (2018): Assistive technologies for people with disabilities. Part III: Perspectives on assistive technologies. Brussel: European Union, DOI: 10.2861/11162 (available at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/stoa/cms/cache/offonce/home/studies?page=2)

Dr. Linda Nierling
MSc. Maria Maia
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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