A purposeful rebuilding: youTube, representation, accessibility and the socio-political space of disability

2017-05-01T05:10:14Z (GMT) by Ellis, Katie
Broadband has been credited with opening up the world to people with disability, allowing them access to both employment and social opportunities. At the same time, people with disability struggle not to be left behind in this digital revolution. YouTube as it has provided opportunities to some people with disabilities while excluding others highlights the importance of a cultural conversation about the future of telecommunications in relation to both content and the medium of transmission.As a disability cultural movement emerged in the 1990s, activists, academics and media producers argued that people with disability should be in charge of their own image. Further, these images must make the able bodied audience feel uncomfortable in order for social change to occur. YouTube is the realisation of this vision. I offer two YouTube productions as case studies; In My Language and Talk (parts 1 and 2). These films demonstrate the way in which disability is a social construction dependant on environment and prejudicial attitudes. The paper then moves to situate YouTube within the broader digital context as it has disadvantaged people with disability through an inaccessible network.By bringing together Christopher Newells (and others) work across the three disciplines of media, disability and Internet studies, this paper generates an approach that recognises the equalising potential of Broadband telecommunications to provide a purposeful rebuilding of the disability narrative and work that still needs to be done in this area Copyright 2010 Katie Ellis. No part of this article may be reproduced by any means without the written consent of the publisher.