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Article

Агентная позиция людей с инвалидностью в городском пространстве

In modern Russia, despite many significant changes, the physical and social isolation of people with disabilities remains. However, people are increasingly manifesting themselves as active actors advocating in public space for the inclusion and accessibility of cities. Urban public space is a space located and created between people through speech and action. The authors refer to agency as an indi-vidual’s ability to the socially important, political speaking and action. It appears if a person is visible, capable and willing to interact with others, to take on the initiative, be motivated not only by one’s own interests, but also by the worldly attachment. The authors show what problems people with disa-bilities and other citizens face, what experience they gain in trying to find themselves in public spaces, to activate communication, and take on the initiative in collective interests. The article is based on Hannah Arendt’s ideas that the authors apply to the analysis of 40 qualitative interviews collected in the summer of 2019 in Kazan, Samara, Saratov, and Tomsk with local experts—activists, including ten interviews in the walk-along methodology. The study showed that public space is created as a web of connections and meanings between people in the interaction regarding the designation of their identity, communication with others, and initiatives on socially important issues. The performance of identity fills the space of communications with new emotions and meanings and is accompanied by various reactions of others. Thus, the scope and formats of publicity are changing, the space becomes more open and inclusive. Participation in public space does not automatically lead to a reduction in inequali-ty or an increase in the accessibility of urban space. In the conditions when new social norms are not internalized by the majority of surrounders, institutions and other actors are needed to facilitate the participation of the less powerful in public space.