• Hussain Alenaizi

Student thesis: Phd


The aim of this study is to explore disability issues in the Kuwaiti context through a participatory research project with disabled people. Six disabled people participated in this project as co-researchers, and a further eight informants (disabled and non-disabled) contributed to this research as research participants.The thesis initially provides a critical exploration of the dominant conceptualisations of disability, such as the individual and social models and also includes cultural perspectives. The individual model provides an exploration of disability at the biological level, while the social model analyses disability at the socio-economic level (Bhaskar and Danermark, 2006). Cultural perspectives of disability provide an exploration of disability at the socio-cultural level (Danermark and Gellerstedt, 2004).After this exploration, and in relation to the experiences of the co-researchers, the thesis proposes that each of these singular perspectives can only provide limited conceptual effectiveness. The study then goes on to suggest that, rather than reducing the 'problem' of disability to one limited explanation, it is more productive to take an overarching, and more complex and interactional approach to disability that combines the best aspects of individual and social models as well as cultural and societal perspectives.The findings explore a number of disability issues at different levels. The analysis of the discussions with the co-researchers and interviews with the participants of this study emphasise a number of disability issues related to both the body and society. In relation to the body, both the co-researchers and the participants highlight issues and experiences related to the role of impairment in restricting activity, while at the same time acknowledging the roles of society and culture that play a part in disablement. The findings show the complexity of the understandings of disability and challenge the individual model, the social model and cultural perspectives of disability, and show how 'impairment' and 'disability' interact in the lives of disabled people in Kuwait. The thesis argues that an appropriate model for understanding disability in Kuwait is rooted in a critical realist paradigm that views disability from multiple levels, including biological, medical, psychological, socio-cultural and socio-economic levels.The findings also explore the process of participatory research with the co- researchers. In relation to this, the findings highlight the issues of power relations, skills development and reciprocity, decision making processes, sharing the experiences, and the possibility of this research opening the door for further research and changing people's attitudes on disability.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorGary Motteram (Supervisor) & Craig Blyth (Supervisor)


  • Participatory research
  • The social model of disability
  • The cultural perspective of disability
  • The Kuwaiti context
  • Critical realism
  • The individual model of disability

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