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ERIC Number: EJ1050638
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1357-3322
"It's Actually Very Normal That I'm Different". How Physically Disabled Youth Discursively Construct and Position Their Body/Self
van Amsterdam, Noortje; Knoppers, Annelies; Jongmans, Marian
Sport, Education and Society, v20 n2 p152-170 2015
In this paper, we explore how physically disabled youth who participate in mainstream education discursively construct and position themselves in relation to dominant discourses about sport and physicality that mark their bodies as "abnormal" and "deviant". We employ a feminist poststructuralist perspective to analyze the narratives about sport, physical education (PE), the body and self of four physically disabled Dutch youngsters. Our results indicate that although dominant societal discourses about sport and physicality construct disabled bodies as deviant, vulnerable and lacking and the disabled as "abnormal", these youth constructed the self as "normal". However, they did so in different ways. One of the interviewees used the alternative discourse "everyone is different, everyone is normal" to position her disabled self as different and normal simultaneously. Hereby she resisted dominant notions about the abled body embedded in discourses about sport and physicality. This act of resistance enabled her to accept her disability as part of her self. Others normalized their disabled bodies by attempting to pass as able-bodied. They tried to minimize and/or hide their disability and in this manner reproduced ableist discourses about sport and physicality. Our interviewees also engaged in various performative acts of resistance. They challenged these dominant discourses by strategically using the possibilities a different/disabled self provided them. Overall the data indicate the important role that visible signifiers of disability played in the exclusionary practices that these disabled youth encountered and the subject positions they could claim. Since alternative constructions and positionings regarding the abled/normal body suggest ways in which the dominance of ableism may be disrupted, we conclude with an emphasis on the need for future research that explores such alternatives.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A