Climbing for equality: overcoming social inequality through sport : a narrative inquiry into the sport lives of five visually disabled climbers in Mexico City
This master thesis is a qualitative narrative inquiry that illustrates and explores the stories of five visually disabled participants who took up the practice of rock climbing and mountaineering as a means to overcome social inequality. The researcher’s role within the study was that of active participation by being the coach and mountain guide for the participants over a period of five years. This narrative analysis reconstructs the stories of the participants in a coherent thematic analysis from a Marxist historical perspective, explaining how inequality towards the participants was created, by using the concept of Cultural Hegemony from Antonio Gramsci. The mentioned methodology was chosen because it provided an appropriate way of laying the groundwork for further analyzing how sports influenced the lives of the participants and helped them overcome social marginalization. Specifically, the work of Norbert Elias and Eric Dunning about social belonging, mimetic tension and social catharsis is proposed as suitable means of embodying and analyzing the participants’ perceptions from the social viewpoint. In addition, Pierre Bourdieu’s theories of habitus, field and capital are used to shed light on how socio-economic conditions can determine sport practice. Data acquisition was done through different channels: focus group interviews, reflective and observation journals, and access to archival data (TV reports, newspaper and internet articles, and radio interview transcripts). The study constantly looks at the way the participant and society interact over a continuous period in Mexico City. This is done by comparing the individual economic, social and sports participation situations of the participants with the general situation of disabled people in Mexico by the use of various national survey data statistics as well as looking at the historical development of the different cultural ideals that dominate their present society. The results show that in many cases the participants were socially and economically objectified, which leads to a situation of discrimination and handicap. Despite this, the participants were able to overcome certain immediate marginal situations with the help of sport. ...
Alternative titleNarrative inquiry into the sport lives of five visually disabled climbers in Mexico City
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