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Creating Public Value Through Parasport Events

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The hosting of major events presents an opportunity to shape public policy and potentially enable social change. In this article we discuss two different parasport events, the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the 2015 Toronto Pan Am/Parapan American Games, which espoused a philosophy of social inclusion and creating social change in sport for persons with disabilities as an outcome of the events. We contend that, as in wider policies for sport, social inclusion has been more illusory than real, sometimes based on increases in facility usage rather than necessarily developing a broader base of participation. Such outcomes stand in contrast to Bozeman and Johnson's criteria for public value. We argue that the two parasport events were used by policy makers to demonstrate meaningful avenues to social inclusion, social change, and how those in public policy positions have the power to influence and create potential. We examine key policies and policy decision-maker's perspectives, utilizing Bozeman's theory on progressive opportunity, regarding the value of two major parasport events in creating social change for persons with disabilities. We conclude that Bozeman's model of progressive opportunity allows for a more sustainable model for bringing the interests of the market and government agencies together to lead to foreseeable and sustainable social change. Notwithstanding, a clear understanding that policy makers need to realize that structural and societal change will not necessarily happen during the life cycle of Games time.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Event Management, an International Journal, intends to meet the research and analytic needs of a rapidly growing profession focused on events. This field has developed in size and impact globally to become a major business with numerous dedicated facilities, and a large-scale generator of tourism. The field encompasses meetings, conventions, festivals, expositions, sport and other special events. Event management is also of considerable importance to government agencies and not-for-profit organizations in a pursuit of a variety of goals, including fund-raising, the fostering of causes, and community development.
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