Nikolaus Dean’s PhD Thesis Proposal

Title: “A Sociological Exploration of Adaptive Skateboarding and Skateboarders with Disabilities”

Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Andrea Bundon
Committee Members: Dr. Deirdre Kelly (Educational Studies), Dr. Moss Norman, Dr. Brian Wilson
Dr. Patricia Vertinsky

Abstract: The action sport of adaptive skateboarding has steadily grown in North America over the last decade, insomuch that adaptive skateboarding was included as an official event at the 2019 X Games and the recent 2021 Dew Tour. Yet, despite this growth, little to no research has explored PWD experiences within adaptive action sporting (sub)cultures such as skateboarding. Given this information, this proposed doctoral research project is designed to improve our understandings about the emerging action sport of adaptive skateboarding and skateboarders with disabilities (SWD) experiences within skateboarding’s larger (sub)culture. In order to achieve these goals, I propose to conduct an interview-driven study comprised of three separate, yet interrelated research questions. The first research question will aim to explore both the emergence of adaptive skateboarding and SWD experiences within skateboarding’s larger (sub)culture. The second research question will investigate how SWD are engaging with and using video, photography, and (social) media to document and share their experiences within skateboarding’s larger (sub)culture. Finally, the third research question will aim to explore how SWD engage with, negotiate, and access difference skate spaces. Guided by a Critical Disability Studies perspective, this sociological study aims to not only add the bourgeoning body of research that has explored skateboarding and its encompassing (sub)culture through a socio-cultural perspective but hopes to add to and expand upon literature related to disability sport and leisure time physical activity, adaptive sport, and action sporting (sub)cultures.