Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Research Student: Ieva Eskyte

Creating effective customer policies for disabled people in the private market

Photo of Ieva Eskyte

I am a PhD student at the School of Sociology and Social Policy as well as a Marie Currie Fellow at the international training network Disability Rights Expanding Accessible Markets (DREAM). I am supervised by Professor Mark Priestley from School of Sociology and Social Policy and Professor Anna Lawson from School of Law.

My current research and principal interests are founded on several inter-related strands. First, as a social worker, I am interested in social environment and interplays within society, which shape different and unequal possibilities and opportunities for people, who belong to different administrative categories. I am passionate about exploring the forces which create social segregation, exclusion or otherwise restrict the participation in and relations with the closest environment and society. As the majority of my social work professional activities have been related with children and youth who are labelled as ‘having social or behavioural problems’, or as presenting ‘social risk’ groups, I have become interested in the creation of equal relationships and the conceptual premises for equality. The second strand of my interest comes from my experience in the Academic Network of European Disability Experts (ANED) where I was an assistant to one of the experts. The width and the depth of the activities revealed the close interconnection between disability and policy, as well as the impact of the latter on shaping not only political and administrative understanding of disability as a category but also in shaping the real experiences of real people. The last strand emerges from my studies on an International Business and Management courses as well as from my experience as a member of different social research groups. All these different experiences were the main drivers behind my interest in the relation between disabled people and the private market in the context of social policy and sociology. I am currently completing my PhD on ‘Creating effective customer policies for disabled people in the private market’. My research is a component project of DREAM and belongs to cluster two: Harnessing Market Forces: Disabled People as Market Participants and Expanding Accessible ICT Markets.

My research aims to explore potential actions, which must be taken in order to transform disabled people’s rights as customers of mainstream private goods and services as stipulated in the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (2006) into practical applications. Since the ratification of the Convention, national governments and the EU are obliged to identify and eliminate barriers to accessibility to mainstream goods and services through minimum standards and guidelines, training assistance and support, and so on. While the main emphasis is on market practices, the responsibility of the provision of the framework within which private entities should introduce and promote equal and accessible customer service is placed on national governments and the EU. Specifically, State Parties are required ‘to ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for people with disabilities’ (art.9.2b). But how is this best achieved? What impact do EU policies have and how does the situation compare in different European countries? How can governments ensure that the private market becomes more accessible for disabled people? Aiming to answer these questions, the research project engaged disabled customers, industry players and disabled people’s organisations to reflect and share the knowledge, experiences, and positions. While this allowed the reality of market accessibility to be revealed, the rhetoric was addressed through the analysis of global, regional, and national policies and legal instruments, shaping private sector providers and civil society’s commitments to and activities with regard to accessibility and disabled customers’ rights. Recalling the focus of the DREAM project and the CRPD requirement to provide access to information and communication technologies and systems (ICT) (art. 9), the ICT market was treated as a case study for the accessible markets across the EU. The data will be collected from two countries (United Kingdom and Lithuania), which will illustrate the broader situation at the European level.

Alongside my PhD I am the representative of Early Stage Researches at DREAM network, a member of DREAM Training Subcommittee and a member of Centre for Disability Studies, Leeds.


Research Interests

  • Disability, ableism, disableism, disablement
  • Accessibility, Universal Design, spatialisation
  • Market, customer rights, equality, vulnerability
  • Habermas’ theory of communicative action
  • Qualitative research methods, research ethics
  • EU law, social policy

Academic History

  • MA Social Work, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania, 2010
  • MA Erasmus exchange studies in International Business and Management, University of Applied Sciences, Osnabrueck, Germany, 2009-2010
  • BA Social Work, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania, 2008
  • Diploma of Future Pedagogue in Lithuanian Philology, Vilnius Pedagogy University, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2004


  • Marie Curie Initial Training Network Scholarship for PhD in Disability Policy Studies (2011)
  • Lithuanian National Foundation Award (2004)

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Sociology and Social Policy Research Methods (Level 2, Semester 1, 2013-2014)
  • Social Policy, Politics and Disabled People (MA, Semester 2, 2015)

Open door: Thursdays and Fridays 10-11 am, room 12.15, Social Sciences Building



  • Ruskus, J., Zvirdauskas, D., Zybartas, S., Eskyte, I., Motieciene, R., Dorelaitiene, A. (2012) Primary, Pri-primary Education in Lithuania. State and Possibilities

Journal Articles:

  • Eskyte, Ieva (2013) ‘Disability and Social Work. One Feature and Three Positions’, Socialinis darbas. Patirtis ir Metodai, 11 (1): 81-93
  • Eskyte, Ieva (2009) ‘The Development of Social Participation in Daytime Child Care Centres’, Socialinis darbas. Patirtis ir metodai, 3 (1): 77-89
  • Eskyte, Ieva (2008) ‘The Process of Entering into and Developing the Relations with Children Who Live in Families at Social Risk’, Socialinis darbas. Patirtis ir metodai, 2 (2): 143-165

Major Researches

  • Ruskus, J., Zvirdauskas, D., Eskyte, I., Zvirdauskiene, R. (2011) ‘The Interdisciplinary Competences of Pupils in Lithuania’
  • Ruskus, J., Eskyte, I. (2010) ‘Challenges and Possibilities in Seeking Social Partnership in the Integration Process of the Third World Countries’ Citizens in Lithuania’
  • Eskyte, I., Ruskus, J. (2009) ‘The Analysis of the Need of Social Day Services for People Suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease in Kaunas District’
  • Ruskus, J., Zvirdauskas, D., Zvirdauskiene, R., Eskyte, I., Motieciene, R., Jagelaviciute, E. (2009) ‘The Assessment of Quality Management in Pre-school and Pre-primary Education’
  • Ruskus, J., Eskyte, I., Motieciene, R. (2008) ‘Social Work Studies. Employers’ Opinion’

Major reports

  • Ruskus, J., Eskyte, I., Ruolyte, R., Elijosius, E., Meliene, R., Vinikaityte, J., Milteniene, L., Geleziniene, R. (2010) ‘ANED Country Report on Equality of Educational and Training Opportunities for Young Disabled People
  • Ruskus, J., Eskyte, I. (2009) ‘ANED Country Report on the Social Inclusion and Social Protection of Disabled People in Lithuania’
  • Ruskus, J., Eskyte., I. (2009) ‘ANED Country Report on the Implementation of Policies Supporting Independent Living for Disabled People’

Recent and Confirmed Conference Presentations

  • ESKYTE, IEVA (2014) ‘Translating accessibility ‘needs’: perspectives of the private market and Disabled People Organisations’. Paper presented at The Lancaster Disability Studies Conference, 9-11 September, Lancaster, United Kingdom
  • Eskyte, I. (2014) ‘The ‘Blind area’ of the city: Drawing shopping-boundaries for people with vision impairments’. Design case presented at Universal Design Conference, 16-18 June, Lund, Sweden
  • Eskyte, I. (2014) ’Experiences of shopping: constructions of choice, control and vulnerability in retail stores’. Paper presented at Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity, 19-20 May, Honolulu
  • Eskyte, I. (2013) ’Information Provision in the Mainstream Private Market: Business Practices and Disabled Customers’ Realities’. Paper presented at Human Rights and Disability: Between Choice and Control, 21st October, Kaunas, Lithuania
  • Eskyte, I. (2013) ’Making Customer Choice in the Disabled Private Market. The Case of Information Provision in Lithuania and the United Kingdom’. Paper presented at DREAM Network Event: European Assistive Technology Ecosystem, 24th – 26th October, Oslo, Norway
  • Eskyte, Ieva (2013) 'Shopping Accessibility: Between the Ideal and the Real'. Paper presented at the Nordic Network on Disability Research (NNDR) 2013 Conference in Disability Research, 30th-31st May, Turku, Finland.
  • Eskyte, Ieva (2013) 'Accessible Private Market for Disabled People? Crisis in Policy and Market Practices'. Paper presented at the 20th International Conference of Europeanists, 25th-27th June, Amsterdam, Netherland.
  • Eskyte, Ieva (2012) ‘Disability and Social Work: Between Life-World Colonization and the Support to overcome Barriers’ Paper presented at the Social Work for Sustainable Social Development Conference, 27th – 29th September, Vytautas Magnus University, LT
  • Eskyte, Ieva. (2012) ‘Effective Customer Policies for Disabled People in the Private Market’. Paper presented at the Disability Studies Association Conference, 11th-13th September, Lancaster University, UK
  • Eskyte, Ieva. (2011) ‘A Portrait of a Person, who is Taking Care of Relative Suffering from Alzheimer‘s disease. From Clinical Towards Salutogenic Model’. Paper presented at the Family in Transitions: Challenges and Possibilities Conference, 12th – 13th May, Vytautas Magnus University, LT
  • Eskyte, Ieva (2010) ‘Comunity‘s Development-Based Management Application in the Development of the Pre-school and Pre-primary Education. Paper presented at the International Conference on Options for Changes in Pre-school and Pre-primary Education, 24th – 25th February, Ministry of Education and Science, Vilnius, LT
  • Eskyte, Ieva (2009) ‘The Process of Entering into and Developing the Relations With Children Who Live in Families at Social Risk’. Paper presented at the 2nd Conference on Social Work Experience and Reflection, 28th November, Vytautas Magnus University, LT

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