Plotting a Paralympic field: An elite disability sport competition viewed through Bourdieu’s sociological lens
Article written by David EJ Purdue and P David Howe from the Loughborough University, UK.
“In this paper components of Bourdieu’s sociological theory will be utilized to systematically outline key constituents, and the interrelated power struggles, which shape Paralympic sport. The premier Paralympic sport competition is arguably the summer Paralympic Games, a quadrennial multi-sport competition for elite athletes with specific impairments, governed by the International Paralympic Committee. This paper argues that Paralympic sport is significantly influenced, shaped and developed according to the differential resources and contestation for power between individuals and organizations that possess an interest in deriving benefit from the Paralympic Games. Firstly, this article outlines the historical development of Paralympic sport. Relevant aspects of Bourdieu’s sociological theory are then identified and utilized to generate a fresh sociologically infused interpretation of the current key constituents who together form a Paralympic field. The intention is to provide a more systematic overview of Paralympic relations, while also highlighting potential avenues for future social research.”
The article was published on the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, February 2015, vol. 50 no. 1 83-97.