Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 375–386 | Cite as

Examining Ableism in Higher Education through Social Dominance Theory and Social Learning Theory

  • Shanna K. Kattari


In most societies, some social identity groups hold a disproportionate amount of social, cultural, and economic power, while other groups hold little. In contemporary U.S. society, examples of this power are evident around issues of ability/disability, with able-bodied individuals wielding social dominance and people with disabilities experiencing a lack of social, cultural, and economic power. However, this relationship between able-bodied individuals and people with disabilities is neither static nor determinant; and through social modeling it may be altered to foster increased positive outcomes for people with disabilities, including both undergraduate and graduate students. As educators and institutional staff members frequently engage with students with disabilities, improving ally behavior and overall accessibility will increase rapport building with students, leading to more just and equitable interactions.


ableism ally behavior diversity disability higher education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Social WorkUniversity of DenverDenverUSA

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