Challenging 'normalcy': possibilities and pitfalls of Paralympic bodies

Howe, P.D. and Silva, C.F. ORCID: 0000-0003-3643-8293, 2017. Challenging 'normalcy': possibilities and pitfalls of Paralympic bodies. South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation, 39 (1), p. 2. ISSN 0379-9069

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Abstract

The Paralympic Games is celebrated in the mainstream media in line with the vision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) 'To enable Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world.' In this paper we explore the degree to which the flagship of parasport has acted as a catalyst for an enhanced social and cultural understanding of disabled embodiments. Drawing upon a Foucauldian conceptualisation of biopower in connection with Harraway's articulation of the cyborg, we highlight how hybrid bodies inevitably fail to promote embodied difference because they constitute, in and of themselves, a product of "normalizing" technology. In light of critiques such as that of the sporting supercrip, we argue that the heroic glorification of Paralympic cyborgs further amplifies the inadequacy of non- cyborg disabled bodies, whose impairments cannot be "compensated for" by movement technologies. Ultimately, this paper is a call to reflect upon how parasport culture can enhance its ability to deliver the empowerment ideal encapsulated within its vision.

Item Type: Journal article
Description: Special edition
Publication Title: South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation
Creators: Howe, P.D. and Silva, C.F.
Publisher: Department of Sport Science, Universiteit Stellenbosch
Date: August 2017
Volume: 39
Number: 1
ISSN: 0379-9069
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 31 Aug 2017 08:30
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2017 08:13
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/31489

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