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Book Review: Sports, Religion and Disability

The topic of religion and sports has long been marginalised in sports studies and ‘studies focused purely on the secular dimensions of sport can be unhelpfully narrow’ (Shilling and Mellor, 2014: 352). Thankfully, this secular bias is now being addressed by a number of scholars writing from theological, philosophical, psychological, historical and sociological perspectives. Nick J Watson and Andrew Parker, the editors of Sports, Religion and Disability (which is based upon two special issues of the Journal of Disability and Religion), are amongst the most prominent contributors to this emerging field (cf. Watson and Parker, 2013, 2014). They claim that Sports, Religion and Disability is a ‘groundbreaking book’ providing an ‘insight into the relationship between sports (and leisure), religion and disability’ (p. i). The interesting and original chapter contributions that follow mean the book certainly lives up to this claim. After the introduction there are 14 chapters by a total of 14 different authors. As one might expect from an ‘exploratory’ book (p. xiv), chapter contributions are eclectic and vary widely in both style and scope. Whilst space restricts a detailed analysis of all 14 chapters, I will provide some discussion of two of them whilst referring briefly to some of the others.