Precarious possibilities: Disability, self-advocacy, and university learning
LE3 .A278 2017
Aylward, M. Lynn
Doctor of Philosophy
Disabled students in Canadian universities obtain academic accommodations through an individualized service approach. Yet actual support implementation is variably dependent on their ability to self-advocate, to navigate policy and process, and on faculty willingness to accommodate. This study drew on the under-represented voices of disabled students to uncover the production and disruption of marginalization, and understand the potential for faculty to facilitate meaningful post-secondary inclusion. The experiences of disabled students and their professors were explored as they worked to arrange accommodations with a focus on the phenomenon of self-advocacy and its place in access processes. Interview data were generated with 30 disabled students and sixteen faculty members from three Nova Scotia universities. Tanya Titchkosky’s theorizing of access as an interpretive social scene and Fiona Kumari Campbell’s framing of ableism as a deeply entrenched societal expectation informed the analysis. Through the required and narrowly defined phenomenon of self-advocacy, disabled students enter into a precarious reality that privileges ableist normativityand naturalizes disability as undesirable. However, findings also suggest that attending to positive and reciprocal student/faculty relationships could significantly change how universities think about and respond to disability.
The author grants permission to the University Librarian at Acadia University to reproduce, loan or distribute copies of my thesis in microform, paper or electronic formats on a non-profit basis. The author retains the copyright of the thesis.