Categorisation supporting the implementation of Universal Design in Sweden

Project: Research

Project Details


Sweden is about to implement Universal Design as its main principle for everything new that is created in society. The introduction of Universal Design creates a tension between two kinds of thinking and categorising: an inclusive, equal accessibility for all people cannot have signs depicting wheelchair users on it. This project investigates categorisations of (dis)ability and gender, as patterns of inequality and discrimination, people’s strategies for counteracting discrimination, and how to create categorisations that do not lead to inequality and stigma. The project takes a novel comprehensive approach to categorisations, investigating both written and spoken communication, and human interaction in and with physical space. A multi-disciplinary approach, with methods from Linguistics, Design Sciences, Disability Studies, and Gender & Sexuality Studies, is used. It is a two-year project, with three subprojects (SP). SP1 investigates categorisations in texts, with explicit linguistic labels such as “person with disability” or “cis person”. SP2 uses a citizen science approach to collect photos of categorisational signs in public space, such as for entrances, lifts, lavatories, etc., and people’s own experiences with these. SP3 brings together and discusses selected cases from the first two subprojects in workshops, intended to generate knowledge and solutions for categorisations that are in line with and support the implementation of Universal Design. The results also help to understand how categorisations are related to acts of discrimination and how such discriminations are scrutinised and challenged by people.
Effective start/end date2018/12/012021/06/30

Collaborative partners

  • Lund University (lead)
  • Göteborgs universitet, Institutionen för svenska språket


  • Swedish Government Agency for Innovation Systems (Vinnova)

UKÄ subject classification

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
  • Design
  • Other Civil Engineering
  • Architecture

Free keywords

  • Universal Design
  • Accessibility
  • Disability
  • Inclusion
  • Categorsation
  • Architecture