Re-presenting the Paralympics: (contested) philosophies, production practices and the hypervisibility of disability
journal contributionposted on 17.04.2019, 12:09 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.
Arts and Humanities Research Council. Grant reference: AH/p003842/1
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences