The Habitual Rhythms of Becoming-Involved: Insights into Participation Experiences in Urban Spaces by Children with Diverse Mobility

Stafford, Lisa, Adkins, Barbara, & Franz, Jill (2014) The Habitual Rhythms of Becoming-Involved: Insights into Participation Experiences in Urban Spaces by Children with Diverse Mobility. In McLean, Loyola, Stafford, Lisa, & Weeks, Mark (Eds.) Exploring Bodies in Time and Space. Inter-Disciplinary Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, pp. 107-124.

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This chapter reports on a study that reveals the essence of participation in urban spaces by ten children who live with various physical conditions: Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, and Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases. These conditions affect muscle and movement differently resulting in diverse ways in which children move through space (personal mobility). The children at the time of the research were 9-12 years of age residing in South-east Queensland, Australia. The approach and methods selected for this study, interpretive phenomenological inquiry and grounded theory, were chosen for their capacity to capture the complexity and multiple interactions of the child’s urban living. The confronting and poignant accounts by children and their families of their experiences produced a new way of understanding the concept of participation, as a ‘journey of becoming involved.’ Their accounts of performing everyday routines (e.g. leaving home, getting in and out of the car, and entering places) in urban spaces (neighbourhood streets, schools, open spaces, shopping centres, and hospitals) revealed differences in the way settings were experienced. These differences were associated with the interplay between the body, space and context. Where interplays were problematic, explicit decisions about children’s involvement were made. These decisions were described in terms of ‘avoid going’, ‘pick and choose’, ‘discontinue’, ‘accept’, or ‘contest.’ What these decisions mean is some spaces are avoided, some journeys are discontinued, and some barriers encountered in journeys are normalised as everyday experiences, i.e. ‘tolerable discrimination’. These actions resulted in experiences of non-participation or partial–tokenistic participation. The key substantive contribution of the research lies in the identification of points in children’s journeys that shape participation experience. These points identify where future interventions in policy, programming and design can be made to make real and sustaining changes to lives of children and their families in geographies crucial to urban living.

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ID Code: 74672
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: children, urban spaces, embodiment, phenomenology, participation, physical disability, mobility
ISBN: 9781848882461
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Inter-Disciplinary Press
Copyright Statement: No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of Inter-Disciplinary Press.
Deposited On: 05 Aug 2014 03:04
Last Modified: 05 May 2016 23:29

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