Sport and Social Movements by and for Disability and Deaf Communities: Important Differences in Self-Determination, Politicisation, and Activism

  • Danielle Peers


The Paralympic Movement is widely constructed as part of the global movement for empowering people with disabilities. This chapter critiques this claim by offering an historical overview of the relationships amongst disability and Deaf movements, disability sports movements, and the Paralympic Movement—across a range of global contexts—from the late nineteenth century until contemporary times. I argue that the Paralympic Movement has often acted in contradiction to the three basic principles shared by most disability and Deaf movements worldwide. These principles are centring disabled and Deaf people in decisions that most affect them (i.e., self-determination); reframing disability/Deafness as a social or political, rather than a biological, problem (i.e., politicisation); and actively challenging social structures that perpetuate inequality and oppression (i.e., activism).


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle Peers
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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