Unconquerable Heroes: Invictus, Redemption, and the Cultural Politics of Narrative

May, 2019

This paper explores the subject of the wounded veteran, the narratives that exist around the wounded veteran in culture and society, and how events such as the Invictus Games influence those narratives.


The wounded veteran is a challenging subject for the state. These subjects must be narratively managed and reclaimed in ways which both recognize the violence of warfare and render critical responses inappropriate. Using the example of the Invictus Games, this paper argues that the wounded military body can be recast through emotional-political narratives of techno-heroic redemption. Through the display of ‘cyborg bodies’, elite sports men and women with prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs and national flags draped around their shoulders, the Games have become performance of a posthuman body, with a ‘more-than-human’ capacity to transgress boundaries of human capability. This paper contributes to existing literatures on the politics of veteran injury, sport and war, and to wider debates regarding the regulation of violence and narratives of war by the liberal state, and raises questions about who may be written out of the Invictus story.

Full Reference

Alice Cree & Nick Caddick (2019): Unconquerable Heroes: Invictus, Redemption, and the Cultural Politics of Narrative, Journal of War & Culture Studies, DOI: 10.1080/17526272.2019.1615707.

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