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Research Article  |   September 2005
Habitus and the Embodiment of Disability Through Lifestyle
Author Affiliations
  • Louise R. Thibodaux, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Founding Director, Senior Care Resources Center, Saint Martin’s in the Pines, Birmingham, Alabama. Correspondence: 4261 Old Leeds Road, Birmingham, Alabama 35213-3211; yellowboots@charter.net
Article Information
Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Disability and Participation
Research Article   |   September 2005
Habitus and the Embodiment of Disability Through Lifestyle
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2005, Vol. 59, 507-515. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.5.507
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2005, Vol. 59, 507-515. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.5.507
Abstract

One aim of disability studies is to accurately portray the experience of persons who live with disabilities. Often this experience generates knowledge that challenges institutional and attitudinal stereotypes. In this study, disability is conceptualized as a measurable space and place characterized by objective differences among groups. Bourdieu’s concept of habitus is proposed as a way to understand how a social space is created and maintained by everyday life experience. Linking Bourdieu’s understanding of social space to the sociology of health lifestyles, the paper further proposes that classes of individuals enact individual and collective behavior that respond to life choice and life chance. Using measures from the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique clustered to reveal patterns of community participation 2 years after spinal cord injury, the study offers an alternative way for modeling knowledge of disability as embodied categories of action expressed as differentiated health lifestyles.