‘It’s a part of me’: an ethnographic exploration of becoming a disabled sporting cyborg following spinal cord injury

Sparkes, A., Brighton, J. and Inckle, K. (2017) ‘It’s a part of me’: an ethnographic exploration of becoming a disabled sporting cyborg following spinal cord injury. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise & Health. ISSN 2159-676X.

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Abstract

In much research dealing with sport technologies and the process of cyborgification there is a significant lack of attention given to the experiences of athletes themselves. This is particularly so for disabled athletes. Against this backdrop of neglect, we draw on data generated from a 4-year ethnographic study that explored the experiences and meanings of disability sport for those who became involved in it following a spinal cord injury, and here we focus specifically on the process of becoming a disabled sporting cyborg.

Our analysis reveals the following phases in this process: from taken-for granted to techno-survival cyborgs; rehabilitation centres and becoming a technically competent cyborg; everyday life as an embodied cyborg; becoming a disabled sporting cyborg. The dynamics of each phase, how they relate to each other, and how they shape body-self-technology relationships over time are considered in detail. In closing we offer some reflections on the consequences of cyborgification and the implications of this process for constructions of ability and disability.

We also raise questions regarding the structural and ethical implications of cyborgification, particularly in terms of the validation of certain kinds of bodies at the expense of others and the role of technology in reproducing social inequalities.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Disabled athletes; spinal cord injury; technology; body-self relationships; cyborgification
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0558 Sports science
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0706 Sports psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0706.5 Sports sociology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: James Brighton
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2017 16:23
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2017 16:23
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/16501

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