The Rhetoric of Widening Participation in Higher Education and its Impact

Ending the Barriers against Disabled People

  • Navin Kikabhai

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Navin Kikabhai
    Pages 1-19
  3. Navin Kikabhai
    Pages 147-183
  4. Navin Kikabhai
    Pages 185-214
  5. Navin Kikabhai
    Pages 215-234
  6. Navin Kikabhai
    Pages 235-240
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 241-266

About this book


This book offers a critical investigation of the exclusion of individuals described as having ‘learning difficulties’ from participation in higher education. Using a postmodernist framework, the author explores the insights and experiences of a theatre group attempting to develop an undergraduate degree programme in the performing arts. In doing so, he provides a theoretical map of insights into discourses of power and knowledge, and makes transparent competing and contradictory discursive practices. Suggesting that ‘learning difficulties’ is a constructed and re-constructed discourse serving normative interests, the author demonstrates that despite the rhetoric of widening participation, individuals are intentionally beset by barriers, silenced and excluded from degree level participation. The author calls for a radical re-think of the notion of ‘learning difficulties’, segregated provision, access to employment in theatre, and critically questions the notion of participation in higher education. This pioneering volume will appeal to students and scholars of inclusive education, (critical) disability studies, cultural studies and the sociology of education.


Disability Equal access Higher Education Elitism Disability Studies Inclusive Education

Authors and affiliations

  • Navin Kikabhai
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of BristolBristolUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Education Education (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-75965-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-75966-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site