Pyer, M. and Tucker, F. (2007) What difference does it make? Some reflections on ‘disability’, bodily differences and childhood research. Paper presented to: First International Conference on Geographies of Children, Youth and Families, Reading, 17-18 September 2007.
Children’s Geographers have meticulously discussed issues of ‘bodies’ and ‘power’ within research, focussing on gender, age and/or bodily size. Discussions of this type also arise from literature stemming from Disability Studies, which have noted the limited ability of able-bodied researchers to record and reflect upon the lives of those who are disabled. Drawing on reflections from two doctoral studies, this paper will consider the influence and experience of ‘disability’ as it relates to three stages within the research process; the planning, doing and evaluating of empirical research when ‘disability’ and ‘childhood’ are part of the picture. We take here two starting points. Firstly, we reflect on the impact of disability when the participants of research are ‘disabled’. Secondly, we turn the tables and discuss the influence of ‘disability’ when it is experienced first hand by the researcher working in childhood or youth settings. Our aims here are as follows; first, to draw attention to the profile and importance of ‘disability’-related considerations within Children’s Geographies; second, to highlight the close linking issues which have arisen within each discipline respectively; and third, to reflect on the repercussions of these discussions for (embodied) research with and/or by, ‘disabled’ people