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Media, Listening & Disability:
On Not Speaking Otherwise
paper for TASA 2015 - Disability
& Listening panel
Gerard Goggin ...
In recent years, it has become
apparent — from the work of
sociologists, activists, artists,
writers, media makers — that
...
disability troubles neoliberal
imagination (& social imaginaries)
• Disability still figures as economic burden (can’t wor...
Disability troubles
Disability is a ‘specialized’ issue, needing ‘special
arrangements’ (‘accommodations’ that need to be
...
Communication & media matter in disability &
social futures … but these are also framed by
neoliberalism
e.g. social media...
media (including new media) has as
significant issues with disability as it
does with other, interlinked issues of
indigen...
So, this paper looks at role that media
play — in both shaping and enforcing
disability and its closely related
counterpar...
communication - an overarching concept for voice
& listening - is a key elements in culture & social
life, esp. in present...
as yet, communication rarely includes the
diversity, styles, and requirements that are
evident if we take an affirmative, ...
‘Julia Rems-Smario: A Deaf Woman's Journey From Oralism to ASL -- See Her Success
Today’, 15 May 2015, YouTube
Thinking with disability, we need to reimagine
communication - and claim new kinds of
communications rights
Which is what ...
every theory of politics - & democracy -
is a theory of media
every theory of media
is a theory of disability (Jonathan St...
Against the background of
rethinking communication via
disability, ‘listening’ (Cate Thill,
Tanja Dreher), is an especiall...
disability & listening
• ‘listening’ has emerged as rich social, cultural, &
political concept – connecting different
real...
Media & listening case
UK welfare reforms –
‘disability benefit scroungers’
Australia media & listening cases
Closure of ABC
Ramp Up disability blog
TEDx Sydney 2015 & #stellaschallenge
#JointDestroyer -
Nov 2015 Destroy the Joint controversy
Listening,
otherwise
references
Tanja Dreher, ‘A partial promise of voice? Digital storytelling and the limits of
listening’ Media Internationa...
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
'Media, Listening & Disability'
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'Media, Listening & Disability'

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Gerard Goggin paper for 'Disability & Listening' panel for The Australian Sociological Association (TASA), 26-28 Nov, 2015, Cairns

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'Media, Listening & Disability'

  1. 1. Media, Listening & Disability: On Not Speaking Otherwise paper for TASA 2015 - Disability & Listening panel Gerard Goggin @ggoggin Dept of Media & Communications University of Sydney
  2. 2. In recent years, it has become apparent — from the work of sociologists, activists, artists, writers, media makers — that disability is at the heart of neoliberalism globally, and that these oppressive dynamics unfold very much in regional and local contexts.
  3. 3. disability troubles neoliberal imagination (& social imaginaries) • Disability still figures as economic burden (can’t work, won’t work; too expensive to maintain on welfare - not ‘really disabled’; NDIS will bankrupt Australia etc) • temporalities of disability don’t suit neoliberalism (too slow; too intermittent) • Disability has entered public culture & mainstream, but with only with limits & on provisos - e.g. ‘celebrity disabled’ such as Paralympians (cf. Juliet Watson & Sarah Casey on celebrity feminists in Oz media) • Disability is too unruly & ungrateful (e.g. why isn’t charity gratefully received?)
  4. 4. Disability troubles Disability is a ‘specialized’ issue, needing ‘special arrangements’ (‘accommodations’ that need to be requested in universities; actually, why are our universities so slow in embracing students, scholars & workers with disabilities?) Disability rights have now arrived; e.g. right to social support with National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with citizens (consumers) able to ‘direct their own care’ (Dickinson, 2015) - but many services will need to be delivered by neoliberal means (hence new market entrants into disability support with NDIS players)
  5. 5. Communication & media matter in disability & social futures … but these are also framed by neoliberalism e.g. social media is lauded for its role in information, political & social participation; but most platforms are commercially owned - which at times (often) poses significant issues & the ‘social imaginaries’ of new media are often very neoliberal (e.g. ‘sharing’ = Uber) & don’t include disability except myth that technology will be the salvation of disability
  6. 6. media (including new media) has as significant issues with disability as it does with other, interlinked issues of indigeneity, race, gender, sex, class, age - media won’t cover many disability stories but disability critiques of media ableism are very much a minority affair (‘why don’t you put that on the disability activism page’? - #JointDestroyer saga #criparmy ping @katharineannear ) See Ellis & Goggin, Disability & the Media (2015) - bingo!
  7. 7. So, this paper looks at role that media play — in both shaping and enforcing disability and its closely related counterpart, normalcy; but also in offering different cultural platforms and social models for how we might re-imagine society.
  8. 8. communication - an overarching concept for voice & listening - is a key elements in culture & social life, esp. in present conjuncture of digital media platforms normative visions of society - ideals of democracy, justice, equality, participation - also require accompanying models of communication John Keane’s ‘monitory democracy’, Manuel Castell’s ‘mass self- communication’, Nancy Fraser’s counter public spheres & new, transnational publics, Zizi Papacharissi’s ‘affective publics’, Martha Nussbaum, social justice, disability, nonhuman animals, Nick Couldry, voice matters & media justice
  9. 9. as yet, communication rarely includes the diversity, styles, and requirements that are evident if we take an affirmative, rather than ‘deficit’ model of disability e.g. what is often termed ‘augmentative or alternative communication’ (e.g. not normal) can be seen, rather, as part of the genuine diversity & variation that is communication e.g. what was seen as a defect, or impairment, deafness, requiring correction (oralism) is now recognized as a rich culture & communication repertoire - sign language
  10. 10. ‘Julia Rems-Smario: A Deaf Woman's Journey From Oralism to ASL -- See Her Success Today’, 15 May 2015, YouTube
  11. 11. Thinking with disability, we need to reimagine communication - and claim new kinds of communications rights Which is what the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities does (but that’s another story) Gerard Goggin. ‘Communication Rights and Disability Online: Policy and Technology after the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS),’ Information, Communication & Society 18.3 (2015): 327-341.
  12. 12. every theory of politics - & democracy - is a theory of media every theory of media is a theory of disability (Jonathan Sterne) So: every theory of politics - & democracy & media - is also a theory of disability
  13. 13. Against the background of rethinking communication via disability, ‘listening’ (Cate Thill, Tanja Dreher), is an especially rich set of resources, for interrogating dominant modes of controlling people with disability … opening up the question of democracy, as if disability mattered.
  14. 14. disability & listening • ‘listening’ has emerged as rich social, cultural, & political concept – connecting different realms/sectors/institutions/movements • ‘For me, the question “who should speak?” is less crucial than “who will listen?” “I will speak for myself as a Third World person" is an important position for political mobilization today. But the real demand is that, when I speak from that position, I should be listened to seriously …’ – Gayatri Spivak (1986) • Especially promising & challenging questions are raised by thinking about disability & listening
  15. 15. Media & listening case UK welfare reforms – ‘disability benefit scroungers’
  16. 16. Australia media & listening cases
  17. 17. Closure of ABC Ramp Up disability blog
  18. 18. TEDx Sydney 2015 & #stellaschallenge
  19. 19. #JointDestroyer - Nov 2015 Destroy the Joint controversy
  20. 20. Listening, otherwise
  21. 21. references Tanja Dreher, ‘A partial promise of voice? Digital storytelling and the limits of listening’ Media International Australia 142 (2012): 157- 166 Tanja Dreher, ‘Speaking up or being heard? Community media interventions and the politics of listening’ Media, Culture and Society 32.1 (2010): 1-19 Katie Ellis & Gerard Goggin. Disability and the Media (Palgrave, 2015) Katie Ellis, Gerard Goggin, and Mike Kent. ‘Dis-entanglements of Disability and Digital Technology’. Fibreculture Journal, forthcoming Katie Ellis and Gerard Goggin. “Disability Media Participation: Obstacles, Opportunities, and Politics” Media International Australia 154 (March 2015): 78-88. Katie Ellis, Gerard Goggin, and Beth Haller (eds.) Routledge Companion to Disability and Media (2017) Gerard Goggin. ‘Disability and the Ethics of Listening: New Models for Democracy and Media’. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 23.4 (2009): 489-502. Cate Thill ‘Listening for policy change: how the voices of disabled people shaped Australia's National Disability Insurance Scheme,’ Disability and Society 30.1 (2015): 15-28.

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