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Physical Culture
Open AccessArticle

Sliding to Reverse Ableism: An Ethnographic Exploration of (Dis)ability in Sitting Volleyball

1
School of Health Studies, Western University, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
2
School of Kinesiology, Western University, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Societies 2019, 9(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9020041
Received: 15 April 2019 / Revised: 8 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Culture)
This paper illuminates the potential of diversely embodied sporting cultures to challenge ableism, the ideology of ability. Ableism constructs the able body as conditional to a life worth living, thus devaluing all those perceived as ‘dis’-abled. This hegemonic ideology develops into a ‘logic of practice’ through a cultural appropriation of body’s lived complexity, by reducing it to symbolic dichotomies (able/disabled). The path to challenge ableism is then to restore body’s complexity, by turning attention toward its lived embodied existence. Drawing upon an ethnographic study of a sitting volleyball (SV) community, we condense multiple data sources into a sensuous creative non-fiction vignette to translate the physical embodied culture of the sport. In exploring SV physicality through the ethnographic vignette, it is our intention to activate the readers’ own embodiment when interpreting and co-creating this text. By placing the reader in the lived reality of playing SV, we hope that the potential of this physical culture to destabilize engrained ableist premises becomes apparent. Ultimately, our goal is to promote a shift from ableism towards an appreciation and celebration of differently able bodies. This cultural shift is crucial for long lasting social empowerment for people with disabilities. View Full-Text
Keywords: ableism; ethnography; sitting volleyball; impairment; disability; habitus; situated action ableism; ethnography; sitting volleyball; impairment; disability; habitus; situated action
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Silva, C.F.; Howe, P.D. Sliding to Reverse Ableism: An Ethnographic Exploration of (Dis)ability in Sitting Volleyball. Societies 2019, 9, 41.

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