(Un)imaginable (Para-)athletes: A Discourse Analysis of Athletics Websites in Canada

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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Danielle PeersUniversity of Alberta

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Timothy KonovalUniversity of Alberta

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Rebecca Marsh NaturkachUniversity of Alberta

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This Foucauldian discourse analysis engages DePauw’s theory of disability and visibility to examine the construction of para-athletes within the websites of Canada’s “fully integrated” athletics sport system. The authors found that para-athletes remain largely unimaginable within most athletics websites. When present, para-athletes are often only imagined as marginal participants, or marginalized through medical and charitable discourses. The authors offer examples of para-athletes being reimagined primarily as athletes, and some examples where (para-)athletics was reimagined by identifying and removing barriers to full participation. The authors close with some learning points that may enable sport practitioners to change how they discursively construct para-athletes and thus contribute to a less marginalizing and exclusionary sport system.

The authors are with the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Peers (peers@ualberta.ca) is corresponding author.
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