Difference, Adapted Physical Activity and Human Development: Potential Contribution of Capabilities Approach

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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Carla Filomena SilvaLoughborough University

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P. David HoweLoughborough University

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This paper is a call to Adapted Physical Activity (APA) professionals to increase the reflexive nature of their practice. Drawing upon Foucault’s concept of governmentality (1977) APA action may work against its own publicized goals of empowerment and self-determination. To highlight these inconsistencies, we will draw upon historical and social factors that explain the implicit dangers of practice not following policy. We propose that APA practitioners work according to ethical guidelines, based upon a capabilities approach (Nussbaum, 2006, 2011; Sen, 2009) to counteract possible adverse effects of APA practitioner action. A capabilities approach is conducive to the development of each individual’s human potential, by holistically considering the consequences of physical activity (i.e., biological, cultural, social, and psychological dimensions). To conclude, this paper will offer suggestions that may lead to an ethical reflection aligned with the best interest of APA’s users.

Carla Filomena Silva is undertaking her doctoral within the field of the Sociology of Sport with particular reference to adapted physical activity within the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK under the supervision of Dr. P. David Howe, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology of Sport at Loughborough University.

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