People with Disabilities as Border Crossers in the Academic Sector—Chances for Participatory Research


  • Stephanie Goeke Kompetenzzentrum Sozialpolitik, Caritasverband
  • Dagmar Kubanski Ev. Hochschule Berlin



participatory research, emancipatory research, inclusive research, transdisciplinary research, women and men with disabilities, Bourdieu


Currently people with disabilities have a small or non-existent presence in research activities that explore the lives of people like them. However, there is a strong tradition of such research in special education and medical research. In this article we introduce various approaches to participatory, emancipatory, inclusive, and transdisciplinary research, and illustrate their origin and characteristics. Based on Pierre BOURDIEU’s theory and principles of field, capital and habitus, reasons are illustrated why people with disabilities are excluded from the academic world, as well as the barriers they have to face. We offer examples from our own research practice. The results of research in German-speaking countries confirm that people with disabilities should be included in the design of research projects, the process of evaluation, and the interpretation of data. Because of that we appeal for a radical change at institutions of higher education and a comprehensive inclusion of people with disabilities in the conception of research projects as well as in the operation of surveys and the evaluation and interpretation of data. Linguistic barriers as well as the balance of power ought to be reviewed. The granting of research funds ought to be contingent upon approved participation of people with disabilities.



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Author Biographies

Stephanie Goeke, Kompetenzzentrum Sozialpolitik, Caritasverband

Dagmar Kubanski, Ev. Hochschule Berlin

Dagmar KUBANSKI ist Dipl.-Medizinpädagogin und Motopädin und als wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Ev. Hochschule Berlin im Studiengang Bachelor of Nursing tätig. Ihre Arbeitsschwerpunkte sind: Rehabilitation, Körper und Bewegung (Leiborientierung) und die Entwicklung und Durchführung von problemorientiertem Lernen (PBL) als Lehr- Lernkonzept. Sie ist Doktorandin an der Pädagogischen Hochschule Freiburg (Sportwissenschaften/Körpersoziologie) mit dem Thema "Grenzüberschreitungen im Leben von Frauen mit Behinderung und deren Entwicklung von Selbstbehauptungsstrategien". Ehrenamtlich arbeitet sie für den Behindertensportverband Berlin e.V. und den Deutschen Behindertensportverband e.V. als Beauftragte für Mädchen und Frauen mit Behinderung.



How to Cite

Goeke, S., & Kubanski, D. (2012). People with Disabilities as Border Crossers in the Academic Sector—Chances for Participatory Research. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13(1).