Narratives of Directors of Disability Services: Forms of Social Capital in Practice




Breslow, Ken

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This qualitative case study examines the journeys of four directors of disability services. The voices of disability service providers in higher education remain relatively silent in the extant literature. Therefore, this research focused on: (1) What are the participants’ journeys into becoming directors of disability services? (2) How does the directors’ ontology manifest in the supports they provide to students with disabilities? (3) What are the capitals that manifest in the work that these directors are doing? (4) What impact do the capitals-in-use have on services, students, and the institution? Data for the study were generated through in-depth interviews, artifacts, and the analytical researcher journal. Yin’s five-phase cycle was employed to analyze the data: Compiling, disassembling, reassembling, interpreting, and concluding. From the data, it became evident that all of the directors exhibit human capital and social capital in the work they do. For all but one of the participants, resistant capital was present. Far from suggesting that resistant capital is absent from their practice, the data illustrate that resistant capital was portrayed more prominently by three of four directors of DS services. In addition, all of the directors in this study possess different manifestations of cultural capital. The participants’ stories may inspire directors and providers of disability services in higher education to appreciate the value of and application of human capital, social capital, resistant, and cultural capital in their daily work. Study findings may also be informative to the national AHEAD organization as they revisit their Program Standards. University and college administrators are also considered as an important audience for this study, given the need to be aware of the multiple fronts and challenges participants and others in the field face and the value of human, social, and resistant capital in their practice. In short, participants in this study revealed their value as “institutional agents,” rather than simply being caretakers and “service providers.”



Disability, Social capital, Office of Disability Services, Human capital, Resistant capital, Cultural capital


Breslow, K. (2016). Narratives of directors of disability services: Forms of social capital in practice (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI