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Essay on Disabled Sports

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When one looks at the word “disability”, it immediately conjures up an idea of what someone cannot do, or something physically wrong with an individual, that prevents them from doing something as the majority of society can do. When society looks at a person with a disability, society relates or compares them to what is considered “normal”. It is that comparison to the majority, or normality which causes society to view a disability as a negative. Disabilities can limit someone or on the other hand, they can give an advantage. In this paper, I will discuss whether Talcott Parson’s sick role applies to disabled individuals. As well, I will look at Michel Foucault and how his theories such as the clinical gaze and classification play into disabled sports. Additionally, I will look at how technological advancements or enhancements change the playing field for disabled athletes such as Oscar Pistorius.
When looking at disabilities, if one was to examine disabled sports and approach it from a bio-medical point of view, we would use comparisons to normality, benchmarks to what is normal and what it means to be healthy. In a sociological approach to health, one looks at the body as a whole, on more than just the physical level. Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts;” but, what if one part was missing, or unresponsive? The sporting world views disabled athletes in a different regard than able bodied athletes. This view becomes even more distorted when body enhancements such as prosthetics are added to the mix. Society looks at the term disabled as less than normal, as individuals who are weaker, or at times unhealthy, even when health has nothing to do with their disability.
It seems that it is human to c...


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...d December 2, 2013. http://www.aimeemullins.com/about.php
Swartz, Leslie and Brian Watermeyer. 2008. "Cyborg anxiety: Oscar Pistorius and the boundaries of what it means to be human." Disability & Society 23(2):187-190.
Vainshtein, Olga. 2012. ""I Have a Suitcase Just Full of Legs Because I Need Options for Different Clothing": Accessorizing Bodyscapes." Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture 16(2):139-169.
White, Kevin. 2009. An Introduction to the Sociology of Health and Illness. 2nd ed. London, England: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Wikipedia. 2013. "The Six Million Dollar Man." Retrieved November 29, 2013 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Six_Million_Dollar_Man.
USA Swimming. 2013. "Trischa Zorn-Hudson." Retrieved December 3, 2013. http://www.usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/9c996fd2-8691-48d4-87f4-b51a5c65133a/Trischa%20Zorn-Hudson%20Resume%202009.pdf



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