PhD student praised in Anthropology of Sport Photo Contest


24 March 2011

James Brighton, who is studying part-time for his PhD with Professor Andrew C. Sparkes in the Faculty of Education, Community and Leisure was recently named as runner-up in The Royal Anthropological Institute’s Anthropology of Sport Photo Contest in the ‘Body in Sport’ category. The photograph, entitled ‘Perfectly disabled?’ (below right) was described by James in his submission as follows:

Image of the back of a muscular male in wheelchair"This photo has emanated from my PhD research on the disabled body in sport. I believe the image to be striking and evocative in its presentation of the man’s body but also of our (postmodern?) culture inscribed through it. The vision of his muscular and powerful tattooed back, glistening under the lights on stage of a bodybuilding competition and raising up from the metallic wheelchair makes us question our own bodies as well as perhaps deconstruct our perceptions of the disabled body. The often pathological or even ‘pitied’ able bodied gaze that so often accompanies the disabled body as aberrant is potentially inverted to a state of desire for the perfected  ideal of masculine embodiment which we view in front us. His masculinity (which could be viewed as being threatened by his disability) has been enhanced further by the marking of his flesh through ink, affirming his identity within the gender roles of our society".



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