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Re-presenting the Paralympics: (contested) philosophies, production practices and the hypervisibility of disability

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posted on 17.04.2019 by Emma Pullen, Daniel Jackson, Michael Silk, Richard Scullion
Studies that have engaged parasport broadcasting, particularly through a narrative lens, have almost exclusively relied on textual and/or content analysis of the Paralympic Games as the source of cultural critique. We know far less about the decisions taken inside Paralympic broadcasters that have led to such representations. In this study – based on interviews with senior production and promotion staff at the United Kingdom’s Paralympic broadcaster, Channel 4 – we provide the first detailed examination of mediated parasport from this vantage point. We explore the use of promotional devices such as athletes’ backstories – the ‘Hollywood treatment’ – to both hook audiences and serve as a vehicle for achieving its social enterprise mandate to change public attitudes towards disability. In so doing, we reveal myriad tensions that coalesce around representing the Paralympics, with respect to the efforts made to balance the competing goals of key stakeholders and a stated desire to make the Paralympics both a commercial and socially progressive success.

Funding

Arts and Humanities Research Council. Grant reference: AH/p003842/1

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Media, Culture and Society

Citation

PULLEN, E. ... et al, 2018. Re-presenting the Paralympics: (contested) philosophies, production practices and the hypervisibility of disability. Media, Culture and Society, 41 (4), pp.465-481.

Publisher

SAGE Publications © The Authors

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2018

Notes

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Media, Culture and Society and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443718799399.

ISSN

0163-4437

eISSN

1460-3675

Language

en

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