Socially disabled

The question is posed by Goggin and Newell (2007, p159) as to why the notions of accessibility and inclusion are still so evasive “if we are now possessed of greater knowledge about disability and design.” This proposition led me to consider whether the quandary is in fact a matter of relapse in technological and design capabilities or if it is a matter of considered ignorance. Goggin and Newell go on to further argue their case by suggesting that “reflecting routine social exclusion, the introduction of new technologies sees people with disabilities overlooked, omitted, neglected or not considered” (2007, p160). It seems that attempts to allow for accessibility to those with disabilities are usually only ever an afterthought. I find this concept difficult to grapple with considering the highly politicised nature of contemporary social convention. Much emphasis is placed on the elimination of any such activity, discourse or environment which is seen to be discriminatory in its foundation. So why then is technological disability treated as a matter not requiring concern? I would contend that this is a reflection of embedded social norms whereby the disabled are habitually overlooked, or “included” as an later addition, in order to be seen as politically correct. One such example which highlighted this issue was an article regarding International Pole Dancing Championships – a competition that comprised four categories: men, women, doubles and the disabled. I found this to be highly problematic, as it is a poor attempt to appear to be inclusive of disabled persons, while in fact little effort has been made to allow accessibility and complete inclusion. It is necessary that disability inclusion and accessibility become a matter of course, and not just about political correctness.

 

Don’t Dis My Ability, 2012, http://www.dontdismyability.com.au/news, accessed 01/04/12

Goggin, G and C, Newell (2007) ‘The Business of Digital Disability’ The information Society: An international Journal, Vol 23, Issue 3

Pole dancers compete in the international championships in Hong Kong, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7BAXbNzgbs&feature=player_embedded, accessed 01/04/1

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