Imagining being disabled through playing sport: The body and alterity as limits to imagining others' lives

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 2 (2):142 – 157 (2008)
Qualitative research methods in sport often advocate that to understand others, obtain significant knowledge and do ethically admirable research we should empathise with our participants by imagining being them. In philosophy, it is likewise often assumed that we can overcome differences between people through moral imagination: putting ourselves in the place of others, we can share their points of view, merge with them, and enter into their embodied worlds. Drawing partly on the view that imagination is embodied and the philosophy of Bakhtin and Levinas, along with research on people's experiences of becoming disabled through playing sport, this paper problematises the assumption that we can imagine ourselves differently situated or being another person. It argues that our imagination and ability to put ourselves in the place of others is constrained partly by embodied experience and otherness. Some reflections on what this might mean for disability and sport research are then offered
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DOI 10.1080/17511320802222040
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