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The tail is wagging the dog: body culture, classification and the paralympic movement

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journal contribution
posted on 26.09.2014, 13:35 by David Howe
The rules and regulations regarding the classification process through which athletes must be vetted to determine eligibility for Paralympic competition have been transformed drastically over the last two decades. A complex classification system initially developed by the International Organizations of Sport for the Disabled (IOSD) has been the distinctive feature of the Paralympic movement over this period. Key consideration must be given to the equitable nature of any classification system imposed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in order to comply with the ideology of Paralympism. Paralympism is manifest in the dictum of the Paralympic movement: ‘empower, inspire and achieve’. Using ethnographic data obtained by the author while a Paralympic athlete and journalist, this article explores recent debates within the sport of athletics surrounding classification. This is achieved by highlighting the process of classification and how, as a result of this process, some bodies are celebrated and others are not within a sporting culture established as a ghetto for imperfection.

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

ETHNOGRAPHY

Volume

9

Issue

4

Pages

499 - 517 (19)

Citation

HOWE, P.D., 2008. The tail is wagging the dog: body culture, classification and the paralympic movement. Ethnography, 9 (4), pp.499-517.

Publisher

© 2008 SAGE Publications

Version

SMUR (Submitted Manuscript Under Review)

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

2008

Notes

This article was published in the journal, Ethnography [© SAGE Publications] and the definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1466138108096989

ISSN

1466-1381

Language

en