Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg


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Dr. des. Daniel Pateisky

(Ph.D. Scholarship Holder 10/2012 – 03/2017)
1st Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Reinhold Sackmann
2nd Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Anne Waldschmidt (University of Cologne)
Mentor: Dr. James M. Thompson

Epistemic Inter_Actions - Translating at the Seams of Disability Discourse and Advocacy

The goal this research project sets itself is an actor-based sociology of knowledge examination of how disability rights advocates’ contributions of knowledge are influenced by, and in turn shape, epistemic norms around dis/ability. A critical referent to which such knowledge adheres is hypothesised as lying in the concepts brought forward in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD, 2008) undergo their constitution and constant reformation interpretative qualities when conveyed among international advocacy actors. Theoretical notions are drawn inductively from actors’ statements: their conscious or unaware thematisation of issues and concepts is to allow insight to processes of power-knowledge-development in a field where epistemic hierarchies remain highly flexible. Analytical categorisation thereby also involves social, experiential knowledge of persons directly concerned and those close to them (e.g. family members or personal assistants), elevating their authority in the process to levels equalling those of established ‘experts’. This work aims to investigate how dynamics relating disability knowledge and power emerge from and affect the knowing of advocacy rights actors who navigate both sides of this heterogeneous field of practices, following the guiding question:

How does knowledge of disability rights advocates
contribute to a dispositif of disability?

Since this research engages with power dynamics that are expressed in structured relationships, symbolic interaction, communication, transfer, translation and interpretations, social actors are taken as a lens through which analysis views its subject. With regard to such elements being symbolically visible in their formation of contingent cultural symbolic orders and technical-game metacodes (i.e. a languages implicitly indicating their origin, structure, history, and effects), it seems suitable to apply a mix of methods. They consist of using (1) Grounded Theory coding from a social constructionist perspective (cf. Glaser & Strauss 1967; Charmaz 1990), so as to allow the actors to inductively provoke and produce in their statements what are relevant indicators for their practices; (2) a sociology of knowledge approach to discourse analysis (Keller 2008) is attempted, so as to contextualise legal and political texts, public and stakeholder statements, and recognise their relevance for the power relations concerned. Thereby, I aim to investigate rights actors’ impact on a dis/ability dispositif – as a network of relations, discourses, institutions, laws, etc. that are strategic and illustrate intersections of power and knowledge (Foucault 1980 [1977]).

Empirical research consists primarily of in-depth qualitative interviews with members of an epistemic community consisting of a) representatives from international as well as local organisations concerned, experienced in two-level ‘downward’ and ‘upward’ communication; b) actors in the international political spectrum of disability legislation and policy; c) and academics knowledgeable in the genealogy of disability-related human rights and research. Additionally, documentary analysis of legal texts and official wording, as well as participant observation in the discursive setting of international consultation, are to put the information gathered into critical perspective. This project wants to provide answers regarding relations of power and knowledge that impact dominant and marginal ideas and thoughts concerning dis/ability, and the regimes of governance they are part of. It hopes to eventually lead, via contribution to and increased awareness of reflexive processes, to a more encompassing approach in disability rights communication and advocacy.

Curriculum Vitae


Defence of PhD-Thesis on December the 13th 2017
10/2012–09/2016Ph.D. scholarship holder with the Graduate School "Society and Culture in Motion" at Martin-Luther-University, Halle-Wittenberg
12/2011Magister in Development Studies at the University of Vienna; minoring in Sinology. Thesis Title: “Multilingualism and the Attention Paid to its Role in the Context of Development Co-operation”
07/2007–05/2008Enrolment and Language Courses at the University of Qiqihaer, Heilongjiang Province, PR China
07/2005–09/2005Summer School on issues of Chinese language, politics, history, economy at Shaoxing University, Zhejiang Province, PR China

Professional Activities

Empirical and theoretical research in human rights of disability and health, advocacy and its translatability; exchange with international self-advocates; organisation of academic exchange programmes, University of Halle
02/2010–02/2012Co-founder and Head of MS Young Connection – Agency and Support Work in non-profit Civil Society Organisation
06/2006–03/2010Conference Management Assistant at United Nations Offices Vienna (UNOV)
08/2007–05/2008English Language and Social Sciences Teacher at the University of Qiqihaer, PR China
10/2006–06/2007Assistant Teacher in Seminar on “The History of North-South Relations” (particular focus on southern Asia) at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Vienna
10/2005–02/2007Coordinator and Actor in "keine-Uni Forumtheater", Vienna
– fusion between the interests of individuals from differing social groups (migrants, job-seekers, students, …) through means of theatrical collaboration
03/2005–06/2010Activism on the University of Vienna’s Students’ Representative Council
– University Politics, Curricular Planning, Gender Equality, Disabled Persons’ Interests


1. Articles

• with Schulmann, Katharine, Stefania Ilinca, and Ricardo Rodrigues (2017): From   disability rights towards a rights-based approach to long-term care in Europe: Building an index of   rights-based policies for older people. Working Paper I. Vienna: European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research.

• with Chiang, Karina; Du, Zhangping; Du, Zhanglin; Fuchs, Daniel; Gruber, Christine; Lee, Ting; Lipinsky, Astrid; Nejedla, Helena; Schneidewind, Julia; Suhendra, Chia- Hua; Wan, Waikei; Wascher, Elke: Translation of Tong Xin (2004): “Die arbeitsrechtliche Situation marginalisierter Arbeiterinnen und die Herausbildung eines Rechtsbewusstseins”. Original published in: 社会性 (Shehui xingbie – Gender Studies) Vol. 2, 2004: 151-163. Vienna: University of Vienna, 2009.

• “Multilingualism and the attention paid to its role in the context of development co- operation”. Thesis Abstract in: Verbal (Journal for Applied Linguistics) 01/2012, Vienna: Association for Applied Linguistics, 2012.

2. Monograph

• “Multilingualism and the Attention Paid to its Role in the Context of Development Co-operation”. In: ÖFSE Forum (Journal for Applied Development Studies in Austria), Vienna: Österreichische Forschungsstiftung für Internationale Entwicklung (Austrian Research Fund for International Development), 09/2012.

3. Other Media Contributions

3.1 Theatre

• 11-12/2005 (Co-operative Forum Theatre Workshop “Scripting the Play” with Sanjoy Ganguly, Jana Sanskriti/Theatre of the Oppressed India, and public staging), Forum Theatre Production and Performance on Disability, Personal Relationships and Systems of Support and Inclusion at Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus, Vienna.

3.2 Film

• with Gloria Gammer, Jianan Qu, Jiao Guo, Stuart Freeman, Susanna Kellermayr (et al.): “The Red Face and Five Stars (Hongse de lian he wu wei mingxing /色的和五位明星)” (Documentary Essay, Austria/China, 2011), Director: Gloria Gammer

[Analysis and Reflection on Questions Regarding the Psychological Concept of ‘Face’ in Chinese Personal and Political Relations].


  • Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat (Oman) (3-5 November 2016),
    3rd International Conference on Language, Linguistics, Literature and Translation: Connecting the Dots in a Glocalised World,
    Presentation Title: "Negotiating an Interdependent Claim – Authorship and Indication in International Disability Rights Advocacy"
  • DiscourseNet 17 Conference - Reflexivity and Critique in Discourse,
    University of Navarra, Spain (16-18 March 2016)
    Co-authored & co-presented with Prof. Dr. Marianne Hirschberg,
    Presentation Title:
    "Who determines what is a Name? - Authorship in Disability Rights and Classifications"
  • NNDR (Nordic Network on Disability Research) 13th Research Conference, Bergen, Norway (6-8 May 2015)
    Presentation Title:
    "Subscription to the CRPD as Code? – Translational Effects on Agency in Disability Human Rights Discourse(s)"
  • University of Cologne – Chair of Labour and Vocational Rehabilitation (19 January 2015)
    Guest Lecture
    Presentation Title:
    “Behinderung als Kategorie – Multiperspektivisches Verständnis eines Konzepts”
  • Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Politicas, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa
    3rd Annual Conference of ALTER (European Society for Disability Research): Exploring Disability: Epistemologies, Policies and Politics. (3-4 July 2014)
    Presentation title:
    "Subscription to the CRPD as Code? A Linguistic Dispositif’s Effects on Agency through Human Rights Discourse(s)"
  • Technische Universität, Munich
    7th Equality, Diversity and Inclusion International Conference: Organizing Inclusion: Beyond Privileges and Discrimination. (7-10 June 2014)
    Presentation title:
    "Disrupting the Research Environment? Academia’s Intersectionally Shifting Habitus"
  • Universiteit Leiden
    35th American Indian Workshop: Communication is Key. (21-25 May 2014)
    Presentation title:
    "Mainstreaming Awareness – Linguistic Accessibility in Disability Rights and Indigenous Rights"
  • Max-Planck-Institut für Sozialrecht und Sozialpolitik, Munich
    Conference Diversität und Inklusion: Umgang mit Vielfalt und Verschiedenheit bei Beeinträchtigung und Behinderung. (30-31 January 2014)
    Presentation title:
    "Can Legislative Jargon Learn from Children? Inclusion through Accessibility of Language in CRPD and DRIP"


Germannative language
Polishnative language
Latinfull understanding

Research Interests

  • Linguistic Anthropology & Language(s)
  • Disability Studies, Human Rights in Disability & Health
  • Translation and Identity Studies
  • Multilingual Identity Constitution / Heteroglossia
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Political Theatre (particularly as a means of participation/agency)


  • DGS - Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie
  • ISA - International Sociological Association
  • IASSIDD - International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • SDS - Society for Disability Studies
  • DiStA - Disability Studies Austria