Ableism as a regulator of social practice and disabled people's self-determination to participate in sport and physical activity

Ian Brittain, Rui Biscaia, Simon Gerard

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44 Citations (Scopus)
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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

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Leisure Studies on 27/11/2019, available online:

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


This work was supported by the H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions [Research and Innovation grant agreement no. 823815].


  • Ableism
  • Disabled People
  • Social Practice
  • Social Capital
  • Self-Determination
  • Sport and Physical Activity


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