In this article, I explore the concept of axiology in the context of adapted physical activity research and analyze its connection to the more commonly discussed paradigmatic assumptions of epistemology and ontology. Following methodological scholars, I argue for an acknowledgment of the pivotal role that axiology already plays in adapted physical activity research and for the potential interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary opportunities that could be enabled by engaging with axiology in more explicit ways. I discuss a number of potential axiological gaps between the field of adapted physical activity and disability communities, arguing that such differences may undermine attempts at doing meaningful transdisciplinary research with such communities. I offer strategies for bridging these axiological gaps, encouraging us to work together in axiologically reflexive ways in order to increase meaningful opportunities for more people with disabilities to be engaged in the movement-based activities and communities of their choice.
Engaging Axiology: Enabling Meaningful Transdisciplinary Collaboration in Adapted Physical Activity
Athlete First: A History of the Paralympic Movement
“What’s the Difference?” Women’s Wheelchair Basketball, Reverse Integration, and the Question(ing) of Disability
Nancy Spencer-Cavaliere and Danielle Peers
The inclusion of able-bodied athletes within disability sport, a phenomenon known as reverse integration, has sparked significant debate within adapted physical activity. Although researchers and practitioners have taken up positions for or against reverse integration, there is a lack of supporting research on the experiences of athletes who already play in such settings. In this study, we explore how competitive female athletes who have a disability experience reverse integration in Canadian wheelchair basketball. Athletic identity was used as the initial conceptual framework to guide semistructured interviews with nine participants. The results suggest that participation in this context contributed to positive athletic identities. Interviews also pointed to the unexpected theme of “what’s the difference?” that this sporting context provided a space for the questioning and creative negotiation of the categories of disability and able-bodiedness. Methodologically, this paper also explores the possibilities and challenges of inter- worldview and insider-outsider research collaboration.
Dismantling Historical Hardscapes: Unsettling Inclusion as Solidarity
Nathan V. Fawaz and Danielle Peers
Mountain Equipment Co-Op, “Diversity Work,” and the “Inclusive” Politics of Erasure
Jason Laurendeau, Tiffany Higham, and Danielle Peers
In October 2018, Canadian retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op publicly asked, “Do white people dominate the outdoors?” and acknowledged that their representations were “part of [a] problem.” Relying on Ahmed’s theorizations of diversity work, this paper offers an intersectional interrogation of Mountain Equipment Co-op’s (MEC’s) commitment to including more “diversity” in their representations and considers how both MEC’s statement and their early efforts to diversify simultaneously efface the gendered, ableist, fatphobic, settler colonial and racist structuring of “the outdoors” both in MEC’s practices and in “Canada” more broadly. Our analysis highlights how MEC’s practices continue to reflect and reproduce the appropriation of wilderness for a narrow range of bodies.
Say What You Mean: Rethinking Disability Language in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
Danielle Peers, Nancy Spencer-Cavaliere, and Lindsay Eales
Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly (APAQ) currently mandates that authors use person-first language in their publications. In this viewpoint article, we argue that although this policy is well intentioned, it betrays a very particular cultural and disciplinary approach to disability: one that is inappropriate given the international and multidisciplinary mandate of the journal. Further, we contend that APAQ’s current language policy may serve to delimit the range of high-quality articles submitted and to encourage both theoretical inconsistency and the erasure of the ways in which research participants self-identify. The article begins with narrative accounts of each of our negotiations with disability terminology in adapted physical activity research and practice. We then provide historical and theoretical contexts for person-first language, as well as various other widely circulated alternative English-language disability terminology. We close with four suggested revisions to APAQ’s language policy.
(Un)imaginable (Para-)athletes: A Discourse Analysis of Athletics Websites in Canada
Danielle Peers, Timothy Konoval, and Rebecca Marsh Naturkach
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 Operationalizing Intersectionality Framework
Debra Kriger, Amélie Keyser-Verreault, Janelle Joseph, and Danielle Peers
Intersectional approaches are needed in sport research and administration to create significant changes in access, participation, and leadership. The operationalizing intersectionality framework—graphically represented as a wheel with spokes and points of traction—offers a nonexhaustive, evolving structure that can facilitate contextual, deliberate actions to disrupt overlapping systems of oppression. The framework was assembled to guide E-Alliance, the gender equity in sport in Canada research hub, in embodying its commitment to intersectional approaches and designed for broader application to sport. Current gender equity efforts mostly continue to prioritize the knowledge and needs of White, middle–upper-class, nondisabled, not fat, heteronormative, binary, cisgender women and have yet to achieve parity. Acting meaningfully on commitments to intersectional approaches means focusing on how axes work together and influence each other. The framework can help advance cultural sport psychology and ultimately improve athletic well-being.
Singing and Dancing With Neuromuscular Conditions: A Mixed-Methods Study
Danielle Peers, Lindsay Eales, Kelvin Jones, Aidan Toth, Hernish Acharya, and Janice Richman–Eisenstat
The purpose of this study was to assess the safety and meaningfulness of a 15-week recreational dance and singing program for people with neuromuscular conditions. Within a transformative mixed-methods design, pulmonary function tests, plethysmography through wearable technology (Hexoskin vests), individualized neuromuscular quality-of-life assessments (version 2.0), and semistructured interviews were used. The interviews were analyzed through inductive, semantic thematic analysis. Although the sample sizes were small (six people with neuromuscular conditions), the authors found no evidence of safety concerns. There was evidence of respiratory improvements and reported improvements in swallowing and speech. The most notable quality-of-life changes included improvements related to weakness, swallowing, relationships, and leisure. The participants shared that the program offered meaningful social connection and embodied skills and safe and pleasurable physical exertion. The authors learned that recreational singing and dancing programs could be a safe and deeply meaningful activity for those with neuromuscular conditions that impact respiration.
Awakening to Elsewheres: Collectively Restorying Embodied Experiences of (Be)longing
Tricia McGuire-Adams, Janelle Joseph, Danielle Peers, Lindsay Eales, William Bridel, Chen Chen, Evelyn Hamdon, and Bethan Kingsley
“Mainstream” spaces of movement cultures within settler colonial states invite bodies that are White, cis, able, thin, and heterosexual, just as “mainstream” academic space validates knowledge about the world produced by these very subjects. Such mainstream assemblages are embedded within the broader structure of settler colonialism, mutually buttressed by White supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and (neo)imperialism. In this article, a Collective of scholars who represent voices from the margins writes back to settler colonialism, ableism, anti-Black racism, and other exclusions and harms. We do this to both elucidate relationships between systems of oppression and craft spaces of embodied freedom and to show/demonstrate belonging within decolonial enactments of “elsewheres.” in the field of sociology of sport.