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The American Marathon

Dr. P. David Howe

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

Carla Filomena Silva and P. David Howe

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.

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Classification of Disabled Athletes: (Dis)Empowering the Paralympic Practice Community

P. David Howe and Carwyn Jones

In recent years the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the institution responsible for the administration, organization, and management of the Paralympic Games, has reshaped the landscape of sport for the disabled. This article argues that the IPC has marginalized the practice community, notably the International Organizations of Sport for the Disabled. By wrestling away control of the classification systems developed by these organizations, the IPC has transformed them to such an extent that they fail to provide opportunities for equitable sporting practice and the result has been a threat to the ideology of Paralympism. We illustrate this by examining two classification systems that are currently used within Paralympic Sport: the integrated functional system employed in the sport of swimming and the disability-specific system used within athletics.

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Who’s In and Who Is Out? Legitimate Bodies Within the Paralympic Games

David E.J. Purdue and P. David Howe

This paper explores issues surrounding the inclusion of impaired bodies within the Paralympic Games. To achieve this aim we use empirical data gathered from semistructured interviews held with a range of Paralympic stakeholders. The background upon which this data are analyzed is a critical analysis of the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC’s) current vision and mission. Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and capital (Bourdieu, 1997, 1984) provide the theoretical foundation upon which the analysis takes place. Discussion centers on Paralympic stakeholders’ articulations of issues surrounding individuals with cerebral palsy and/or severe physical impairments, emanating, in part, from a desire for aesthetically pleasing sporting performances. This paper gives Paralympic stakeholders a voice, upon which the IPC and broader sporting community may choose to reflect.

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Too Many Chairs: Spatiality and Disability in Integrated Sporting Spaces

Nancy Quinn, Laura Misener, and P. David Howe

The research examined spatiality of The Village during the Commonwealth Games XXI. Central to the research is the perspective of the parasport athlete. By foregrounding this perspective, new understandings of the geography of sporting spaces become possible. The integrated nature of the Games establishes The Village as a significant space to consider spatiality and disability. Ethnographic methodology was utilized. The first author, a veteran of many Paralympic Games, brought an “insider” perspective. Thematic analysis was conducted, and three themes, such as language informs space, hypervisibility of the body, and indoor versus outdoor spaces are presented as an ethnographic vignette. Inaccessible construction and hypervisibility of the body in certain spaces impacted athlete experience. The Village Pub and pools were examples of inhospitable spaces for athletes. The language of Games personnel significantly affected athlete participation in Village life.

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Physical Activity Among Older Adults With Visual Impairment: A Scoping Review

Meridith Griffin, Brett Smith, P. David Howe, and Cassandra Phoenix

In this paper we present a scoping review of literature on aging, visual impairment, and physical activity. Our objectives are to: (a) explore the available literature on aging, physical activity, and sight loss; (b) describe how participation in physical activity by older adults with visual impairment is understood by researchers; and, (c) identify benefits, barriers, and facilitators of physical activity participation as reported by older adults with age-related sight loss. Over 2,000 sources were reviewed, with 30 studies meeting eligibility criteria. Findings were organized into four thematic categories, namely: (a) participation rates; (b) health inequalities; (c) barriers to physical activity participation; and, (d) benefits of physical activity participation. Through this scoping review process, extant knowledge was synthesized and gaps in the literature were critically assessed. To address these gaps, several avenues for future research are outlined and described, alongside a consideration of the implications of the scoping review findings for both policy and practice.

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Gender Parity, False Starts, and Promising Practices in the Paralympic Movement

Nikolaus A. Dean, Andrea Bundon, P. David Howe, and Natalie Abele

Although women have been a part of the Paralympic Movement since its inauguration, they remain underrepresented in almost all aspects of parasport. Noting these gender-based discrepancies, the International Paralympic Committee and several National Paralympic Committees have made commitments to address the issue of gender balance across the movement. Guided theoretically by feminist and disability sport scholarship, this article explores the various initiatives and strategies implemented by the International Paralympic Committee and National Paralympic Committees to address the issue of gender parity. Through 29 qualitative interviews with Paralympic athletes, organizers, academics, and journalists, our study illustrates that initiatives and strategies implemented by these organizations have affected women differently based on a range of social, cultural, and political factors.

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Re-Assembling Sport for Development and Peace Through Actor Network Theory: Insights from Kingston, Jamaica

Simon C. Darnell, Richard Giulianotti, P. David Howe, and Holly Collison

Some recent appraisals of Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) research have found it to be deterministic and ideological, and lacking sophistication and specificity with regards to theory and method. Notably, such criticisms dovetail with the foundations of Actor Network Theory (ANT). Based on fieldwork in Kingston, Jamaica, we draw on ANT to ‘re-assemble’ the understanding of SDP programs by examining their constitutive elements. The results illustrate the connections necessary for SDP to cohere, and the range of actors in the field, including international funders, funds themselves, and concepts regarding sport’s development utility. Investigating these assemblages facilitates a non-deterministic understanding of the ways in which sport is mobilized in the service of development and peace, while allowing for a nuanced and empirically sound assessment of power and agency.

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Extraordinary Normalcy, Ableist Rehabilitation, and Sporting Ablenationalism: The Cultural (Re)Production of Paralympic Disability Narratives

Emma Pullen, Daniel Jackson, Michael Silk, P. David Howe, and Carla Filomena Silva

In the United Kingdom, significant changes have occurred in the Paralympic media production environment and style of Paralympic broadcasting. Given the generative nature of media texts on cultural representation, the authors explore the circulation of disability narratives in contemporary Paralympic media coverage. Drawing on an integrated data set that brings together textual analysis and audience perceptions, the authors highlight the presence of three disability narratives, termed: extraordinary normalcy, ableist rehabilitation, and sporting ablenationalism. The authors unpack the ways these three narratives differ from the widely and commonly used “supercrip” critique and discuss the implications of these narratives, and the wider cultural discourses and dialogue they generate, in terms of inclusion/exclusion and progressive social change.

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Book Reviews

Eric Anderson, Daniel Bloyce, Alan Bairner, Rob Beamish, Richard C. Crepeau, and P. David Howe