HOWE, P.D., 2011. Cyborg and supercrip: the paralympics technology and the (dis)empowerment of disabled athletes. Sociology, 45 (5), pp. 868 - 882.
Over the last two decades the Paralympic Games have gained a high public profile. As a result
there has been an ever increasing commercial marketplace for aerodynamic and feather light
racing (wheel)chairs as well as biomechanically and ergonomically responsive prostheses that
have helped create a legion of cyborg bodies that is manifest in the image of the sporting
supercrip. Mobility devices that enhance performance have also created a divide between different
impairment groups and also amongst ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ nations. This article highlights
the development of a technocentric ideology within the Paralympic Movement that has led to the
cyborgification of some Paralympic bodies. It questions whether the advances in technology are
actually empowering disabled athletes.