Game Changer? Social Media, Representations of Disability and the Paralympic Games

  • Liam French
  • Jill M. Le Clair


This chapter takes as its central focus the ways in which broadcast media frame Paralympic sport and the extent to which new and emerging social media technologies and platforms potentially offer new modes of consumption and ways of engaging with disability sport which challenge traditional dominant mainstream mass media representations. Data collected based on the use of Twitter during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games indicates that social media provide valuable real-time opportunities for audiences to engage with global sporting events such as the Paralympic Games. Twitter potentially opens up the terrain of representation wherein the circulation of media messages can be engaged with, negotiated, contested and contributed to an unprecedented scale potentially challenging the established gate-keeping role of professional sports broadcasters and journalists and enabling new modes of engagement with Paralympic sport.



The research conducted by Jill M Le Clair was funded by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions of the European Commission (FP7–PEOPLE-2013-ITN-623864).

Research Assistant Samantha Fritz provided invaluable help in the collection and analysis of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games Twitter data.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liam French
    • 1
  • Jill M. Le Clair
    • 2
  1. 1.University of St Mark and St JohnPlymouthUK
  2. 2.Coventry UniversityCoventryUK

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