17th Annual ECSS-Congress, Bruges 2012

Abstract details

Abstract-ID: 1321
Session: [OP-SH15] Physical Education & Pedagogics I
Lecture room: Live 10
Date & time: 25.06.2015 / -
Title of the paper: ‘We should also have a chance to be included.’ Disability, Gender and Physical Education
Authors: Apelmo, E.
Institution: Faculty of Health and Society
Department: Department of Health and Welfare studies
Country: Sweden
Abstract text The aim of this paper was to explore how young, sporting women with physical impairments experience physical education (PE), drawing on research on PE as well as on critical disability studies. Phenomenology (Ahmed 2006; de Beauvoir 1949/2011; Merleau-Ponty 1945/2013) provides a sociological theoretical framework that includes the body. Ten semi-structured interviews were done with women ages 15 to 28, living in Sweden. Most of interviews took about an hour. In order to grasp the experience of disability from the view points of the young women themselves, three participants were asked to keep video diaries: they were lent a camcorder and a tripod for two months. The diaries were between 85 to 110 minutes long. The stigmatization the young women experienced in their everyday life resulted in a polarization between the weak, which was expressed through the expression of belonging as ‘we’, and the strong individual. The subject position as positive and capable – as a reaction towards the weak, the negative – was one of the few positions that were available to them. With the positive and strong attitude, the consequence was the difficulty, not only to complain but also to express pain or discomfort in one’s everyday life. However, as regards the issue of PE, the participants discussed problems dealing with experiences of exclusion, being singled out, and special treatment. It appeared to be difficult for teachers to see these women as the sports interested youths that they were. The young women used different strategies of resistance. While a pair of them did not participate in some of the aspects, another woman had chosen not to participate in PE at all. Refusing to be physically active is, according to Larsson et. al. a common form of resistance among girls (with or without impairments) and is interpreted by teachers as lack of interest (2005: 21-22). An important difference is, however, that in this study the young women were very physically active in their leisure time. One participant made use of a strategy which has the potential for changing the view as regards disabled pupils: she showed her teacher medals she had won in the Swedish national swimming championship, as a way to receive a higher grade. When the women finally described the stigmatization that they had been subjected to, they avoided positioning themselves as victims, by minimizing the seriousness of the situation or by using in the interview the word ‘we’ instead of ‘I’, thus describing the incident in collective terms. References Ahmed, S. (2006) Queer phenomenology. Durham, London: Duke University Press. de Beauvoir, S. (1949/2011) The second sex. New York: Vintage Books. Larsson, H, Fagrell, B, & Redelius, K. (2005) ”Kön Idrott Skola”, Idrottsforum.org. Available 15-02-14. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1945/2013) Phenomenology of Perception. London: Routledge. Contact elisabet.apelmo@mah.se
Topic: Physical Education and Pedagogics
Keyword I: Physical Education
Keyword II: disability
Keyword III: gender