Features of this work include: review mailings to universities and sports & science magazines; presentation at international sports and sociology congresses; and, presentation at the Paralympic Games in China in 2008. "The Paralympic Games: Empowerment or Side Show?" offers insights into the Paralympic Movement which has previously not been alluded to in the academic press. The chapters in this book cover aspects of the organization, development and life worlds of Paralympians, team management and coaches. In particular the book develops the following five themes of the 'Public and Media Perceptions', 'A View inside of the Paralympics', 'Olympism versus Paralympism', 'Cultural Diversity at the Paralympics' and the 'Future Directions for Research' in the Paralympic arena. Inside of these themes several important issues are addressed. They include chapters on Marketing for the Paralympics, Technical aspects of the Paralympic Games, the relationship between Olympism and Paralympism, and the Paralympic Movement in Africa to name a few.
Throughout the book the question is asked as to whether the Paralympics empowers individuals with a disability or if the Paralympics are perhaps just a side show to the major Olympic event, human curiosities which don't fit the mainstream sporting interest. This question has been revisited several times throughout the book and it accentuates the major thrust of the writings therein. Principally this book has been put together as a practical and theoretical mix of chapters in order to stimulate further research into the Paralympic Movement. The chapters represent starting positions from where each form of research could develop and take on their own life as a bona fide research area. As such, the text appeals to students, academics and individuals who are inherently interested in disability and Paralympic sport.
Keith Gilbert is a Professor and Director of the Centre for Disabilities, Sport and Health in the School of Health and Bioscience at the University of East London, United Kingdom. Otto J. Schantz is a Professor and Dean of the Institute of Sport Sciences at the University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany.