Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Cheats, charity cases and inspirations: disrupting the circulation of disability-based memes online

an article by Bree Hadley (Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia) published in Disability & Society Volume 31 Issue 5 (2016)


With the increasing part online self-performance plays in day-to-day life in the twenty-first century, it is not surprising that critiques of the way the daily social drama of disability plays out in online spaces and places have begun to gain prominence. In this article, I consider memes as a highly specific style or strategy for representing disability via social media sites.

I identify three commonly circulating categories of meme – the charity case, inspiration and cheat memes – all of which offer representations that people with disabilities find highly problematic.

I then investigate the ways in which disabled people have begun to resist the representation and circulation of these commonly circulating categories of memes, via the production of counter or parodic memes.

I focus, in particular, on the subversive potential of these counter memes, within disability communities online and within broader communities online.

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