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Debra Shogan

This paper aims to foster a discussion about the social construction of disability within adapted physical activity. Social construction of disability refers to the social history of disability and the social contexts that both enable and disable individuals who negotiate these contexts. Statistics and technology are introduced in this paper to illustrate that “the normal,” “the abnormal,” “the natural,” “the unnatural,” “ability,” and “disability” have emerged historically and to demonstrate that these concepts are implicated in social contexts. Work in the history of statistics is drawn upon to establish that the normal is a fairly recent notion in the English language. It is argued that statistics, as a normalization discourse, sustain artificial demarcations between ability and disability and the normal and abnormal when used by researchers and practitioners. To expose assumptions about natural ability, technological-assisted performance for participants with or without disabilities in physical activity and sport are addressed.

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Judy Davidson and Debra Shogan

We argue that Messner’s 1996 address makes it acceptable to write about queer theory as long as the discourse reproduces the stable knowledge bases and political aims of a new hegemonic “critical” sports studies. This is not queer “studying up”; it is “sociology of sport as usual.” A queer “studying up” traces and deconstructs the processes that produce heterosexuality as “the normal” in sport, and it requires the sport sociologist to be reflexive about the ways in which he or she is invested in “the normal.”