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A sociological critique of the legacy of the London 2012 Paralympic Games

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posted on 25.04.2016, 10:18 by Shane Kerr
This thesis presents a sociological critique of the concept of legacy as it surrounded the London 2012 Paralympic Games. A sociological approach was adopted to challenge much of the spontaneous sociology that surrounds the ascendancy of legacy within the Olympic and Paralympic space. Legacy, disability and the Paralympic Games are the predominant structures of the research problem. The literature review attempts to present a sociology of the sociological approaches in these fields. Underpinning the research design is Bourdieu et al. s (1991) epistemological hierarchy which consists of and proceeds from the break , the construction of a conceptual framework to the empirical design. This hierarchy contributed to the repositioning of legacy from the pursuit of cause and effect, or rather away from the pursuit of legitimacy and illegitimacy, of London 2012 to a study of the proposed and imposed causes and effects, legitimations and illegitimations of it. Aligned to this repositioning is the primary collection of data through interviews with five different institutional fields: government, media, corporate sponsors, disability sport and disability institutions. The research findings present a positional analysis of the inter- and intra-relations of these respective fields. In the discussion key symbolic struggles and issues are presented for each field with particular attention given to the development of the positive leaning and legitimising best ever Paralympic narrative and to the commercial and political legitimacy of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. It is concluded that legacy is ultimately a symbolic struggle of different visions of respective agents and institutions that are unable to achieve these absolute visions or ends.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Shane Kerr

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.