An investigation into the lived experiences of visually impaired music students in the South African system of higher education

Nell, Michelle (2019-04)

Thesis (MMus)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the lived experiences of visually impaired music students within the South African system of higher education. Due to the strong interpretative impetus of the study, the design of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was decided upon, whereby rich data was gathered via semi-structured interviews. Participants were selected via the method of snowball sampling, whereby 11 individuals agreed to partake in the present study, all of them either current music students or university alumni. The findings identified three overarching themes, namely academic life regarding tertiary studies, with the sub-themes including transitioning from school to university, academic support, access to information, and interaction with faculty. The second theme is that of social life during university years, where the focus was on participation on campus, as well as peer support. Regarding the third theme, inner life of visually impaired students within the South African system of higher education, the focus was on participants’ subjective experiences, where various personal coping strategies were identified, including self-advocacy, self-reliance, social support, and the masking of emotional hardship and pain. Finally, the issue of finding meaning within the university experience was discussed. The stories of participants revealed that, despite democracy and the enactment of anti-discriminatory legislation and government policies and initiatives, there is still a significant gap between policy and practice, and that the pervasive problems of racial, economic, and social inequalities are still prevalent to some extent. Furthermore, it also became evident that the pervading medical discourse regarding disability prevalent in special schools within the country has a lasting effect on visually impaired individuals, who were subjected to these injustices, and that it works to silence the voices of visually impaired musicians and sometimes conditions them to internalise the deficit views and normalised assumptions of visual impairment. In addition, participants reported experiencing structural and psycho-emotional impairment within their university, which had an effect on their psychological well-being. Finally, practical recommendations for relevant stakeholders are discussed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Dié studie het die geleefde ervarings van siggestremde musiekstudente in Suid-Afrikaanse universiteite ondersoek. ’n Interpretatiewe fenomenologiese analise is toegepas op ryk data wat deur middel van semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude ontgin is; die gevolg is ’n studie met ’n sterk interpretatiewe inslag. Elf deelnemers – almal huidige of voormalige musiekstudente aan ’n Suid-Afrikaanse universiteit – is deur ’n sneeubal-steekproef geïdentifiseer en by die studie betrek. Die bevindings het drie oorkoepelende temas vasgestel: Die eerste tema – studente se akademiese lewe tydens hul tersiêre studies – sluit die oorgang van skool na universiteit, akademiese ondersteuning, toegang tot inligting en hul interaksie met akademici as subtemas in. Die tweede tema is hul sosiale lewe tydens hul universiteitsjare, waar die soeklig val op hul deelname aan kampusaktiwiteite en die ondersteuning van hul klasmaats. Die fokus van die derde tema – die gevoelslewe van siggestremde studente in Suid-Afrikaanse universiteite – is deelnemers se subjektiewe ervarings en hoe hulle persoonlike strategieë om situasies te hanteer, onder meer selfstandigheid, sosiale ondersteuning en die verdoeseling van hul emosionele teenspoed en pyn, tydens dié ervarings moes toepas. Laastens is die kwessie oor die soeke na betekenis in hul ervarings ook bespreek. Deelnemers se bydraes ontbloot dat daar steeds noemenswaardige klowe is tussen (regerings- en universiteits)beleide en die toepassing daarvan, ondanks onder meer die koms van demokrasie, die verordening van antidiskriminasie-wetgewing en regeringsbeleide en -inisiatiewe; probleme met betrekking tot ras-, ekonomiese en sosiale ongelykheid is in sekere mate ook steeds algemeen. Verder het dit ook aan lig gekom dat ’n deurdringende mediese diskoers oor gestremdheid in spesiale skole in die land ’n blywende impak op siggestremde individue het; hul stemme word verdof en hulle word gekondisioneer om die mening dat siggestremdes ’n agterstand het te internaliseer en te normaliseer. Deelnemers het ook aangedui dat hulle strukturele en psigo-emosionele benadeling in universiteite ervaar het, wat hul sielkundige welstand aangetas het. Die studie sluit af met ’n aantal praktiese voorstelle vir relevante rolspelers

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/106155
This item appears in the following collections: