Accessibility on the Move: Investigating how Students with Disabilities at the University of Manitoba Experience the Body, Self, and Physical Activity


  • Fiona J Moola The University of Manitoba



physical activity, disability, university students, Pierre Bourdieu, qualitative research


The "ivory tower" is gradually beginning to open its doors to students with disabilities. Although scholarship on the learning experiences of students with disabilities at university is burgeoning, there is an absence of qualitative craftsmanship that has investigated the physical activity experiences of these students, most particularly in the Canadian context. Using Pierre Bourdieu's theoretical framework as a lens to consider both the bodily and social effects of disablement, I adopted a thematic analytic approach to describe the activity experiences of 12 disabled students at the University of Manitoba (UofM) in Winnipeg, Canada. The students described threatened body-self relationships. They also regarded on campus physical activity as a site of both pleasure and pain. Finally, the students explained what inclusive physical activity means within the context of higher education. By describing the movement experiences and desires of disabled university students at the UofM, this study contributes toward the ongoing struggle for inclusive higher education.