“You Don’t Need Legs to Skateboard, You Need Friends” – Disabled Young People in Athletic Youth Cultures

The research project “You Don’t Need Legs to Skateboard, You Need Friends” – Disabled Young People in Athletic Youth Cultures (VALKKU, 1 May 2015 – 31 July 2018) studies the position of disabled young people in athletic youth cultures as well as the opportunities of disabled young people to engage in physical exercise. The goal is also to analyse the significance assigned to physical exercise in the everyday lives of disabled young people.

The researcher responsible for the research project at the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland is Päivi Armila, D.Soc.Sc., and the second researcher working on the project is Anni Rannikko, M.Soc.Sc.. The study is implemented in cooperation with the Juvenia Youth Research and Development Centre at the Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences. The leader of the project is Susan Eriksson, D.Soc.Sc., and the project also includes the researchers Veli Liikanen, M.A., and Pasi Torvinen, M.Soc.Sc., from the Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences. The research is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

The research utilises concepts and perspectives from youth research, cultural research, leisure time research, research of the body and physicality, as well as critical disability research. Material is collected from disabled young people using ethnographic field research, interviews and surveys in different kinds of physical exercise environments, groups and services.