Disabled sporting bodies as sexual beings: Reflections and challenges

Sparkes, A., Brighton, J. and Inckle, K. (2014) Disabled sporting bodies as sexual beings: Reflections and challenges. In: Hargreaves, J. and Anderson, E., eds. Routledge Handbook of Sport, Gender and Sexuality. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. pp. 179-188 ISBN 978041552253-3

Sparkes,_A.C.,_Brighton,_J._&_Inckle,_K._(2014)_Disabled_sporting_bodies_as_sexual_beings_-_reflections_and_challenges[1].pdf - Accepted Version

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In general, disabled people’s sexualities have been ignored, controlled, denied and treated (Shakespeare et al, 1996). Disabled bodies have been conceptualised as asexual, unruly, monstrous and unattractive to such an extent that such bodies constitute a sexually challenging idea (Goodley, 2011). According to Shuttleworth and Grove (2008),where sexuality and disability have been focused upon the tendency has been to over-emphasise psychosexual (mal) functioning; explore men’s sexuality rather than women’s; place a lot of store on medical rehabilitation and therapeutic interventions; and implicitly assume heterosexual encounters. Shildrick (2007: 27) notes, however, that in recent years , disability studies, particularly those working with queer and feminist theory, “have increasingly problematized the conventional parameters of sexuality, in order to explore non-normative constructions of sexual identities, pleasures and agency that more adequately encompass multifarious forms of embodied difference.” Set against this backdrop, in this chapter we explore the complex dynamics of disability, sexuality, and gender in sport by providing vignettes of individual narratives in wheelchair sport. These are used to illustrate (1) how the experiences of each are framed by heteronormativity, compulsory heterosexuality and able-bodiness, and (2) how the very ‘queerness’ of their bodies provides a corporeal resource for subverting disabled sexualities in sport. Finally, some reflections are offered regarding future research in terms an embodied sociology that draws on Disability Studies, Feminist Theory, and Queer Theory.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0706.5 Sports sociology
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > Sport Science, Tourism and Leisure
Related URLs:
Depositing User: James Brighton
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2014 14:41
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2018 05:45
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/12885

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00