Between Disability and Terror: Handicapped Parking Space and Homeland Security at Fenway Park

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Abstract

In the United States, handicapped parking spaces tether the social construction of need to the legal assurance of equality of accessibility. However in places such as Fenway Park in Boston, the threat of terror distorts the intention of these spaces by politically reconfiguring their presence and meaning. As a result, our public interest is legally manipulated and socially challenged to preference the abstraction of threat over real life in even the most ordinary of places.

This paper was originally written for an Independent Study with Laura Jensen, Political Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and entitled “Categories of Legitimacy” and presented at the New England Political Science Association Meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, May 5, 2006. A later draft was presented at the International Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law at the Universite du Littoral, Bolougne sur Mer, France, May 22, 2006. Many many thanks are due Laura Jensen and John Brigham for their encouragement, continued enthusiasm and support. Much appreciation is also due the Department of Political Science, UMass/Amherst, for their engagement and suggestions offered at the Fall 2006 Colloquium series and to Kate Longley and Maria Koinova for their generous ideas for revision.