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Children's sociospatial (re)production of disability within primary school playgrounds

Holt, L. (2007) Children's sociospatial (re)production of disability within primary school playgrounds. Environment and Planning D-Society & Space, 25 (5). pp. 783-802. ISSN 0263-7758

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1068/d73j


There is a contemporary shift in the institutional context of 'disabled' children's education in the United Kingdom from segregated special to mainstream schools. This change is tied to wider deinstitutionalised or reinstitutionalised geographies of disabled people, fragile globalised educational 'inclusion' agendas, and broader concerns about social cohesiveness. Although coeducating children is expected to transform negative representations of (dis)ability in future society, there are few detailed explorations of how children's everyday sociospatial practices (re)produce or transform dominant representations of (dis)ability. With this in mind, children's contextual and shifting performances of (dis)ability in two case study school playground (recreational) spaces are explored. The findings demonstrate that children with mind-body differences are variously (dis)abled, in comparison with sociospatially shifting norms of ability, which have body, learning, and emotional-social facets. The discussion therefore places an emphasis on the need to incorporate 'intellectual' and 'emotional' differences more fully into geographical studies of disability and identity. The paper has wider resonance for transformative expectations placed on colocating children with a variety of 'axes of difference' (such as gender, 'race, ethnicity, and social class) in schools.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Human Environments
ID Code:3631
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