The lost bodies in sports, Taiwan: the history of sports for individuals with physical disabilities between 1945 and 2007

2019-06-26T14:10:50Z (GMT) by Cheng-Hao Huang
This thesis presents a history of sports for individuals with physical disabilities in Taiwan between 1945 and 2007. A Foucauldian lens is adopted. Primary data was collected from personal archives of key informants who had lived experience with the developments during this period and with whom interviews were also conducted. Materials were organised using Foucauldian genealogy and analysis was conducting using the lens of biopower to investigate how the bodies of people with physical disabilities were organised in relation to power in the rehabilitation and sporting context. The research portrays how, between 1945 and 1971, the epidemics of poliomyelitis left a large number of children in Taiwan paralysed, and most of them were segregated in institutions. These children became a social problem, and in these institutions, rehabilitation was regarded as physical education and thus became the hallmark of the special education at this time. Development in sports for the disabled occurred between 1972 to 1992, as the authorities began to pay attention to sports for these individuals and it was employed as a tool to encourage them to contribute to the greater national good. Between 1993 and 2007, the status of individuals with physical disabilities entered a liminal state in which they were neither fully included nor excluded in the sports for the disabled in Taiwan. The thesis concludes by highlighting how the Taiwanese State’s approach to individuals with physical disabilities targeted them as a social problem that needed to be managed, and sports were employed as techniques to fulfil this goal. The disabled body then becomes a pawn in the State’s power game which transformed over time, and it was made docile through the techniques of normalisation that are central to engagement with rehabilitation, physical education and sport.