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Watching disability: UK audience perceptions of the Paralympics, equality and social change

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journal contribution
posted on 13.11.2020, 15:01 by Emma PullenEmma Pullen, Daniel Jackson, Michael Silk
Despite the social change ambitions of Paralympic governing bodies and National broadcasters, there is still a shortage of evidence of where public social attitudes stand with respect to disabled bodies, and how these respond to the changing nature of Paralympic broadcasting. Based on a large-scale qualitative audience study across England and Wales, we aim to address this empirical gap. Our findings demonstrate how audiences internalise socially progressive ideas towards disability in line with Channel 4’s broadcasting strategy. These include a greater appreciation of Paralympic sport as an elite sporting event, the ‘normalisation’ of the technologically enhanced disabled body and an awareness of emerging cultural citizenship concerning disability rights-based discourses. Yet, at the same time, we evidence new, potentially damaging stigma hierarchies of disability preference framed by ‘ablenational’ sentiments. Findings are discussed within ongoing debates around mega sporting events, media audiences and disability biopolitics.

Funding

Re-presenting para-sport bodies: Disability & the cultural legacy of the Paralympics

Arts and Humanities Research Council

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History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

European Journal of Communication

Volume

35

Issue

5

Pages

469 - 483

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by SAGE Publications under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

20/12/2019

Publication date

2020-03-06

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

0267-3231

eISSN

1460-3705

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Emma Pullen. Deposit date: 13 November 2020