Australians enjoy a great sports story about a hero beating adversity. Track cyclist Anna Meares’ gold trophy in London was the more remarkable given her comeback by a life threatening neck injury she lasted only four years before.
Maybe it is this concept of triumph over hardship that also catches the creativity throughout the Paralympic Games. But alongside this party of exceptional skill, there also has to be an expression on our worst handicap the manner by which our society disables people.
Social Theory Of Disability
Disability activists have argued that people are handicapped not by intellectual or physical impairments, but by a culture that doesn’t adapt difference. To put it differently, a wheelchair user isn’t disabled with a spinal cord injury, but by construction planners who don’t give wheelchair accessibility.
Oliver contended that a personal catastrophe concept, which finds handicap in the impairments of people, ought to be reversed. Rather, handicap ought to be realized through a societal oppression concept where impairment is regarded as brought on by society’s inadequate responses to handicap.
A social concept of disability can also be favoured in several Nordic countries, where disability is generally known as the consequence of a disconnect between the person and their surroundings, or the person and their own situation.
Norwegian sociologist Jan Tossebro points to cases of people who have a disability who might not be handicapped in particular contexts. A deaf individual isn’t disabled at a location where everybody speaks sign language. Someone who has a visual impairment isn’t disabled while using the phone.
In embracing this social comprehension of disability, it might be claimed that a visually impaired athlete is consequently not handicapped when competing against other visually impaired men and women in the favorite Paralympic game goalball (see video below).
But despite eliminating disabling factors in certain instances, the Paralympic Games may also undermine attempts to look at disability as a social, instead of a person, difficulty.
But while the ads can be congratulated because of their attention on accomplishment, the effort site stays in naming the handicap of every and every competitor, individualising their handicap.
Prominent British handicap academic Tom Shakespeare cautions against divorcing somebody’s experience of disability from a broader social comprehension of disability. Surely the achievement of Paralympians owes more to your personal journey than a social transformation.
But a medicalisation of athletes’ encounters is in part a consequence of the Games themselves, which group participants based on medical definitions of handicap.
Groups like T40-46 (to get a track athlete with a reduction of limb or limb deficiency) or even S11-13 (for swimmers with a visual handicap), are employed in a bid to guarantee a level playing field for athletes in each event. However, they can also bring about damaging debates about what’s ordinary.
Some athletes are excluded from specific sports in the Paralympic Games since they’re deemed not disabled enough.
The first exclusion of Pistorius from eligibility for the Summer Olympic Games in 2008 has been the consequence of a farcical disagreement over what might be regarded as a normal degree of accomplishment to an able-bodied man. That is regardless of the fact all Olympians frequently transcend any ordinary expectations.
In the quest to attain personal best, people who have a disability have overcome many technological hurdles, just to be confronted with attitudinal ones. The greatest addition of Pistorius from the Summer Olympic Games reveals some approaches are shifting.
But accomplishment in and out the sporting arena remains measured based on what an able-bodied woman or man can perform.
People who have a disability are confronted with offices that do not encourage those who operate otherwise, public spaces that reject those who seem different, and societal norms which pity people who communicate otherwise.
Embracing a social theory of disability calls for a huge scale rethinking of not only physically disabling constructions, but also of social areas and office environments, so as to challenge the premise that ordinary also exists.
Deconstructing the manners our society disables people doesn’t finish with buildings which have wheelchair accessibility.
However, it may at least start with a realization that Paralympians, such as most Olympians, are excellent athletes, to whom the step of ordinary can not be implemented.