Ableism as a regulator of social practice and disabled peoples’ self-determination to participate in sport and physical activity

Ian Brittain, Rui Biscaia, Simon Gérard

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Building on the theories of ableism, social practice and self-determination, this article proposes a framework to aid explaining why disabled people (DP) are less likely to access and participate in sport and physical activity (S&PA). We argue that ableism acts as a regulatory mechanism for each of the elements (habitus, capital and field) and different forms of capital (social, cultural, economic and symbolic) of Bourdieu’s concept of social practice. In addition, we argue that this regulation of social practice also impacts the possibility for DP to self-determine their access to and participation in S&PA due to their perceived competence, autonomy and relatedness. In turn, we also acknowledge that ableism can impact directly upon self-determination and that social practice within the arena of S&PA may reinforce ableist perceptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-224
Number of pages16
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number2
Early online date27 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020


  • Ableism
  • disabled people
  • self-determination
  • social capital
  • social practice
  • sport and physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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