04 SES 13 E, Measuring Social Participation with Different Methods
A number of studies have revealed that children with physical disabilities are less likely to complete secondary education. A lack of success in education involve an increased risk of dependence on social assistance and exclusion from the labour market in adult life. It is also well known that the social participation of children with disabilities is lower than average. Social participation is important for building various forms of social capital, with implications for future successful social integration as well as performance in school. The paper reports from efforts to measure and analyse variations in social participation and social capital among Norwegian families and children with physical disabilities. We also investigate various aspects of technology and social media, and the extent to which technology remove barriers or promote social inclusion for children and families with disabilities. Social participation and the building of social capital is conceived of as processes of inclusion and exclusion unfolding in a “stratified” or “laminated” reality with multiple mechanisms at work. To understand these processes, we argue that the individual physical and cognitive characteristics of children as embodied beings play an important part in the analysis. We also examine the role of the school in inclusion and exclusion processes, conceptualizing teachers as street level bureaucrats, subjected to underlying tensions when performing their roles in educational settings. Family characteristics as well as parental social background and local contextual factors are also considered as important determinants. The number of families and children facing permanent poverty is rising in Norway and other parts of the western world, highlighting the need for further understanding of the possible links between poverty and social participation. The paper discuss the possibility of using the availability of the rich register data provided by Statistics Norway in combination with survey analyses and qualitative interviews. We consider the potential of using survey analyses in combination with register data to identify patterns, which can be further elaborated by semistructured interviews. Examples are drawn from ongoing research in Norwegian primary and secondary school settings.
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