Getting In and Getting On? The Experiences of Young People with Visual Impairments and Hearing Impairments in Third-Level Education

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Abstract

Young disabled people continue to be under-represented throughout further and higher education settings. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s social theory of habitus, capital and field, this paper explores the practices of domination and oppression that have made it difficult for young people with visual impairments and hearing impairments to participate in third-level education on the same basis as non-disabled people. Twenty young people with hearing impairments and visual impairments were interviewed about their educational experiences. In addition, 31 interviews were conducted with third-level education providers, policy-makers and non-governmental organisations. This article has two aims: firstly, to critically examine the experiences of young people with hearing impairments and visual impairments in accessing and engaging with support provisions in further and higher education settings; and secondly, to identify and explore the diversity of ways in which these young people have managed and responded to the practices they have encountered. This article emphasises the journey from ability to dis-ability that young people with hearing and visual impairments experience in their quest for educational achievement. The ambiguities of “inclusion”, “widening participation” and “support” are highlighted and critiqued for their extensive failure to challenge taken-for-granted discourses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-133
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Disability, Development and Education
Volume61
Issue number2
Early online date09 May 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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