Sport is often at the centre of battles for rights to inclusion linked to class, race and gender, and this book explores struggles centred on disability in different cultural settings in Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It challenges oversights and assumptions about the ‘normal’ body, and describes how individual and organizational transformations can occur through sport. The abilities of a person are recognised and placed centre stage - instead of the individual being forgotten, excluded, or placed at the margins simply because they have a disability.
National, regional and global change is part of the shift to the rights based approach reflected in the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Making sport inclusive affects the accessibility of facilities, funding, the media, policies, programs, organisations, sponsors and spectators, and at the same time changes the cultural values of the wider society. It also raises issues about competition access and eligibility for ‘different’ and technologically enhanced ‘cyborg’ bodies, and for those most socially disadvantaged. Addressing these questions which ultimately touch on the real meaning of sport can lead to profound changes in people’s attitudes, and how sport is organized locally and globally.
Growth in the influential global organisations of the Paralympic Games, Special Olympics and Deaflympics is examined, as is the approach to disability in sport in both advantaged and resource poor countries. The embodied lives of persons with disabilities are explored utilizing new theoretical models, perspectives and approaches.
This book was previously published as a special issue of Sport in Society.
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Jill M. Le Clair is a Professor of Anthropology, in the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Humber College Institute, Toronto, Canada, and the Founding Chair of the Global Disability Research in Sport and Health Network.
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