The goal of this research is to look at the strategies students of a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences use to find their place in the dominant discourses of the university, in which emphasis lies on achievements/performances and where a medical and market discourse still predominate.
18 interviews with students and graduates with a disability from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (Ghent University) were analyzed based on the question “How do students with a disability consider themselves and their disability?”. Key themes unraveled themselves and it was apparent that students use different kind of strategies to cope with the demanding climate of the university. This insight led the researcher to review literature and brought her to Foucault’s concept of transgression.
Through Foucaults’ concept of transgression we elaborate five movements students with a disability make to maintain themselves at the university: concealing difference, struggling with normality, showing one’s capabilities, using a label as a beacon and repeating forms of exclusion.
Most of these movements can be seen as a way of transgressing ‘the disabled identity’, in order to get recognition as a student and as a person with capacities.These movements reject the notion of persons with a disability as passive, fixed objects, rather students are active subjects that, as part as a continuous process of becoming, choose over and over again to move in/out/in between (dis)ability and (ab)normality.