Disability 'rights' or 'wrongs'? The claims of the international paralympic committee, the London 2012 paralympics and disability rights in the UK

Stuart Braye, Tom Gibbons, Kevin Dixon

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Abstract

A central aspect of the vision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is that the Paralympic Movement is a vehicle for achieving 'a more equitable society' (IPC 2012a). Building upon the findings of an online survey conducted with disabled activists prior to the London 2012 Paralympic Games (Braye, Dixon and Gibbons 2012), in this short essay we argue that whilst this vision is commendable, the Paralympics has limited impact on the everyday lives of disabled people in the UK. Whilst there was evidence of support for the IPC's view that the 2012 Games would be a positive vehicle for improving equality, there were also protests by disabled activists suggesting some disabled people saw the Games in more critical terms. Despite claims that the Paralympic Games has raised awareness of disabled athletes and wider equality issues for disabled people, such a view is not shared by many disability activists some of whom have controversially used the Games as a vehicle to highlight inequalities. It is concluded that the IPC are distinctively positioned to address disability issues as they relate to a unique and elite sports enclave and perhaps ought to restrain from seeing themselves as anything more until they have opened a dialogue with disability activists.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Research Online
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013

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