Restricted Access: Media, Disability, and the Politics of Participation

You Already Know How to Use It: Technology, Disability, and Participation

This chapter is focused on analyzing access in relation to use. It focuses particularly on the ways in which digital media have created preferred user positions - arrangements of bodies, technologies, and culture that are enforced by hardware and software and may exclude many people. 

Analysis of popular media and academic literatures related to digital media and participation are central to this chapter. It is particularly instructive to consider two advertisements, from nearly 20 years apart, for the ways in which they hail an able-bodied user.

Finally, this chapter considers the ways in which people with disabilities may create and inhabit alternative user positions, in which bodies, technologies, and cultures are articulated differently. A user-generated video created during the 2008 Presidential election demonstrates how such alternatives may demonstrate and invite users into such alternative positions.

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