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Tensions and Transformations An Ethnographic Account of Disability Sport in the United Arab Emirates v2.pdf (3.13 MB)

Tensions and transformations: an ethnographic account of disability sport in the United Arab Emirates

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posted on 2021-03-30, 14:23 authored by Seth Perkin
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has experienced rapid social and economic growth since its formation in 1971. These developments have resulted in the repositioning of the UAE in the global hierarchy of power built on their success in the oil industry and their ability and desire to establish themselves as an international sporting and tourist destination. Because of its newfound influence, the UAE has come under surveillance concerning various social concerns, one of which includes the treatment of people with disabilities.
Using a Foucauldian lens, this thesis ethnographically examines how the government of the UAE has harnessed its increasing financial and political influences to enhance the lives of people with disabilities from the grassroots, to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) where the nation is becoming increasingly influential.
Building upon the existing literature by analysing the construction of disability through local influences, such as Islam and Arab Culture and external Western forces, this thesis will examine the cultural landscape of disability sport in the UAE and address the ethnocentric nature of previous studies. By utilising Foucauldian theoretical concepts, in particular, disciplinary power, biopolitics and governmentality, the thesis addresses three main areas of investigation. Firstly, the extent to which the relationship between the UAE and the West has influenced the developments of the UAE. Secondly, the degree to which global and local factors influence the construction of disability. While the final question examines the internal and external forces that influence the provision of disability sport both within the UAE and the nations increased global influence. Ultimately, this thesis highlights that Disability sport within the UAE has become a vehicle for global demonstrations of the success of the country and in turn is utilised to maintain political and economic stability.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Loughborough University

Rights holder

© Seth Perkin


A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


  • en


P. David Howe ; Richard Giulianotti

Qualification name

  • PhD

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

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