Disability Representations

  • Created by: Emma
  • Created on: 12-05-14 11:13

There are two sociological ways of viewing those with disability.

1) the first wat suggests that disabled people are disabled by their physical or/and mental impairments. This view believes that these people need constant care from the medical profession and the disabled people's family.

2) this view suggests that disabled people are disabled by society. Institutions and facilities are designed for able-bodied people. There are also disabled by prejudicial stereotypes and attitudes which result in discriminatory practices.

HEVEY suggests "the history of the portrayal of disabled people is the history of oppressive and negative representation. This has meant that disabled people have been presented as socially flawed able-bodied people, not as disabled people with their own identities."

BARNES (1992) identified a number of recurring stereotypes of disabled people:

  • Pitiable and pathetic
  • An object of violence
  • Sinister and evil
  • Atmospheric or curio
  • Super-cripples
  • An object of ridicule
  • Their own worst and only enemy
  • As a burden
  • Sexually abnormal
  • Incapable of participating fully in community life
  • As ordinary or normal

ROSS (1996) carried out a study of 384 disabled viewers' attitudes towards media representations of the disabled. They found that the disabled viewers were very critical to media representations of disabled people.

ROPER (2003) suggests that mass media representations of the disabled on telethons create


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