Transformation, advocacy and voice in disability sport research

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingChapter


Despite the growing popularity of disability sport, there is a clear disconnect between disability sport stakeholders and the Disability Rights Movement. As researchers, we have the opportunity to bridge this gap by adopting an advocating standpoint that values disabled peoples’ experiences and by conducting research that is of social and political value. This chapter examines the transformative potential of disability sport research and its role in reframing dominant discourses relating to disability identity and engendering broader social change. ‘Advocacy’ and ‘voice’, central concepts in this chapter, underpin my methodological approach in the field- an approach that moves away from the emancipatory and participatory frameworks posited by disability studies scholars. I reflexively draw upon my experiences as a non-disabled researcher and my attempt to authentically represent the attitudes and opinions of elite visually impaired cricket players. Significantly, the majority of players actively reject a disabled identity and in doing so highlight the tensions and challenges in giving ‘voice’ through social research. Whilst my epistemological and methodological approach position the participants as the ‘authoritative knowers’ in this social space, it is their collective rejection of identity that restricts the transformative potential of disability sport.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransforming Sport
EditorsThomas F. Carter, Daniel Burdsey, Mark Doidge
ISBN (Print)1138052248
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2018

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    Powis, B. (2018). Transformation, advocacy and voice in disability sport research. In T. F. Carter, D. Burdsey, & M. Doidge (Eds.), Transforming Sport (pp. 248-259). Routledge.