Marjon News

Marjon academics play major role in new handbook on Paralympic Sport

Released: 27.04.18

Marjon academics both past and present have played a major role in the recent publication of an important new handbook; The Palgrave Handbook of Paralympic Studies. The book is designed as a reference tool for students, researchers and policy makers working in the field of disability sport. The handbook is a follow-up to the successful Palgrave Handbook of Olympic Studies.

Dr Aaron Beacom, Senior Lecturer in Sport Development and Programme Leader of the MRes at Marjon, acted as co-editor for the book. He worked alongside co-editor, Ian Brittain of Coventry University, to pull together research and insights from 43 international academics, experts and strategists which forms the basis of the 30-chapter handbook.   

As well as international contributors, the handbook also includes contributions from Marjon - Senior Lecturer in Sports Development, Phil Brown, Marjon Director of Teacher Education, Dr Gill Golder and past Marjon academics Liam French and Mat Dowling, all of whom co-authored chapters for the book.   

Dr Aaron Beacom comments, “The aim of the book was to provide detailed insight into disability sport and the Paralympic movement, including the social, political and organisational impact of their development. It was therefore vital that we got the involvement from those with the very best in current knowledge and insight, including academics from Marjon.”

“We were surprised and delighted by the level of interest and support from contributors. This included input from a senior Paralympic Games official for the Sochi Games in 2014, South Korean academics who compiled case studies relating to the most recent Paralympic games in PyeongChang and academics and practitioners involved internationally in the classification process. The depth and breadth of the book, as well as its thematic approach, are really its key strengths as a reference book.”

The handbook provides a critical overview of contemporary issues that define the contours of the Paralympic movement and the Paralympic Games including its relationship to new understandings of disability, its role in addressing stigma and exclusion, its relation to international law and policy and its evolving relationship with other international sports organisations.

It provides an important critical assessment of the movement’s approach to branding, social inclusion, classification, funding and technological advances and how these issues impact on its future development.

Dr Aaron Beacom adds, “Some of the key themes that came to light in putting the book together included the huge disparity in the level of funding available for Paralympic sport internationally, the increasing influence of marketing and the media (including social media) in how disability sport is understood and the tensions within the Paralympic movement concerning the twin challenges of promoting high performance sport whilst also acting as an advocacy movement for disability rights. These issues will certainly impact on the movement’s future development.”  

Dr. Aaron Beacom has also published with Palgrave: International Diplomacy and the Olympic Movement (2012) and Sport and International Development (2012), co-edited with Roger Levermore. The academic team at Marjon are continuing to work on projects in related areas of disability sport, social inclusion and public policy.

You can buy The Palgrave Handbook of Paralympic Studies here.

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