Body and Politics: Elite Disability Sport in China


Series: Asian Studies
BISAC: SOC029000

There has been growing interest in research on disability sport internationally, yet little research has concentrated on the development of disability sport in China. This book focuses on elite disability sport in China in the context of history, politics, policies and practice from 1979 to 2012. It examines the relationship between athletes with disabilities and the three major disability games: the Paralympic Games, the Special Olympic Games and the Deaflympic Games. Three key questions are asked: What policies have ensured the success of elite disability sport? How do the elite sport system and management of elite disability sport work in China? In what way has elite disability sport empowered athletes with disabilities in China?

The book includes a comprehensive literature review on the historical development of disability sport in China and beyond. Functionalism and empowerment are the major theoretical backgrounds for the research. The former analyses the function of elite sport policies, systems and other factors occurring during the process, whilst the latter examines the relationship of empowerment between elite disability sport and athletes in China. The three major disability competitions are used as case studies. A qualitative research methodology with specific methods of semi–structured interviews, data collection and documentary analysis is applied to the research. The thesis concludes that the development of elite disability sport in China has received strong support from the government. Elite disability sport is closely linked with China’s politics and international image. The success of athletes with disabilities on the international stage has raised the awareness of the issues facing people with disabilities. This has changed their image in Chinese society in general, and has empowered athletes with disabilities in particular. However, there is unbalanced development in elite disability sport. The book concludes by indicating some potential future directions for further research.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables



Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Political and Historical Context of Disability and Disability Sport

Chapter 3. Understand the Sports System and the Body with Disabilities: a Sociological Perspective

Chapter 4. Elite Disability Sport: Policy and Politics in China

Chapter 5. Training the Bodies with Disabilities for China: the Elite Disability Sport System

Chapter 6. Progress and Empowerment: China’s Participation in the Paralympic Games, Special Olympic Games and the Deaflympic Games

Chapter 7. Is It a Success or Not?


Keywords: Body Politics, Elite Disability Sport, China

Audience: Inclusive Schools; Disability Sport Associations; Disability Sport Club


“Body and Politics and the Elite Disability Sport in China provides a dynamic introduction to the processes by which the interaction between politics and sport influences the development of elite disability sport. Empowerment theory is employed well to analyze the social relationships underpinned within elite disability sport in China. In particular, the analysis of the disability sport system alongside elite sport system mechanics is an accurate means of analyzing the practice of elite disability sport in China, given the fact that government is significantly involved in roles in the sports field.” -Professor Zheng Guohua, Shanghai University of Sport

“This book is the first book to look into the elite disability sport and its development in China. It develops a clear framework for the study of elite disability sport in China. It contains theoretic notions and three in-depth case studies; Paralympics, Special Olympics and Deaflympics. All three cases are part of major elite disability sport in China. They present the readers with an extremely useful understanding of the purposes and approaches to develop elite disability sport in China. The arguments developed from the cases are very convincing.” – Professor Xue Lan, Zhejiang Normal University

Body and Politics and the Elite Disability Sport in China</I> provides us with a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the local policies and approaches to use elite disability sport as a strategy and a tool to impact on special education and even in wider Chinese society. The reconstruction of “Elite Disability Sport” is placed in a wider socio-historical context. The impact of the case studies provide us with a daily practice guide for developing disability sport in special needs schools.” – <strong>Wang Liqiu, Principal of Chengdu Qingyang Special Needs School and Coach of Special Olympic Team, China

“This is a very interesting book that examines the historical development of elite disability sport in China. The authors conduct an in-depth sociological analysis and present a convincing argument regarding the processes involved in developing elite disability sport as a form of social construction of “Disability Movement in China.” – Meng Xiaoxing, Board member of Sichuan Disabled Persons ‘Federation and the Team Manager of Paralympics Team, China

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