Paralympics and the Fabrication of 'Freak Shows' : On Aesthetics and Abjection in Sport

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Paralympics and the Fabrication of 'Freak Shows' : On Aesthetics and Abjection in Sport

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Paralympics and the Fabrication of 'Freak Shows' : On Aesthetics and Abjection in Sport
Author Jönsson, Kutte
Date 2017
English abstract
Two years before the opening of the Paralympic Games in London in 2012, the British TV network Channel 4 launched a campaign called Freaks of Nature. As part of the campaign they produced the short film Meet the Superhumans by director Tom Tagholm. The film became an immediate success, but was also criticised for portraying the Paralympians as ‘freaks’ and for reducing the Paralympics to a ‘freak show’. But was it wrong to describe the Paralympics as a ‘freak show’? Is there even a point of using the term ‘freak show’ in relation to sports? There might be, and that is what I am discussing in this paper. To be more specific, I am proposing that the term ‘freak show’ can challenge and destabilise common aesthetic views in sport, simply by the adding of abject dimensions to the athletic performances. From this one can claim that the Paralympics reconnects to the freak show-tradition of the past. And that, in itself, can have a moral and political impact.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/17511321.2017.1286375 (link to publisher's fulltext.)
Publisher Routledge
Host/Issue Sport, Ethics and Philosophy;2
Volume 11
ISSN 1751-1321
Pages 224-237
Language eng (iso)
Subject Paralympics
freak shows
aesthetics
abjection
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/22680 Permalink to this page
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