Mundane powered wheelchair journeys and embodied rural disability geographies of (not) belonging
Journal of Rural Studies
This article addresses the gap in the literature on disabled people's experiences of everyday journeys by powered wheelchairs in rural contexts. As a contribution to a rural disability geography, this paper embraces the feminist notion of ‘embodied belongings’ to interpret the relationships between ideas, things, mobility, and advocacy. The paper draws on qualitative data collected through mobility life narratives from 15 disabled people who roll powered mobility devices in rural New South Wales. In a context where each rural municipal authority requires a disability inclusion plan, we argue that everyday powered wheelchair journeys produced contradictory feelings around belonging. We argue that feelings of belonging produced by powered wheelchair journeys in rural contexts are often predicated on notions of disability shame that reinforce normative identities and ideologies aligned with conventional discourses of independence that privilege solitary encounters. At the same time, most participants actively chose to become disability advocates from fleeting feelings of not belonging produced by powered wheelchair journeys that included disability parking, accessible footpaths, Wheelchair Accessible Taxis as well as accommodations and modifications around steps.
Open Access Status
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Australian Research Council