Review: Disability and New Media

Disability and Society have just published their latest edition; Journal issue 1, volume 29, featuring my review of Ellis and Kent’s 2011 book Disability and New Media, which was released in paperback last year. This book is recommended reading. My review concludes as follows:

In summary Disability and New Media presents an essential new history of digital media. Ellis and Kent offer a meticulous account of the structural enaction of disability in the design and delivery of new media. The book focuses mainly on the socio-technical properties of these technologies rather than the person-to-person experiences of prejudice and exclusion that may be perpetuated across a network. However, this account testifies to disabled people’s digital rights, tenacity and the importance of accessible digital media for all. The authors highlight valuable concepts, hidden histories and developments that inform all our lives. As such, this book makes useful reading for computer scientists and disability scholars alike, highlighting the need to develop this field. Disability and New Media does not represent a definitive guide to social media, new technologies and disability. Such an omniscient review is not possible when the very newness of the technologies in question resist definition and when the authors have at one point lost some critical focus. Nonetheless, this book represents a significant inquiry, offering a gateway for scholars and activists investigating the affordances of media that increasingly shape our understanding of our world and ourselves.

The full review can be found at:

Sarah Lewthwaite (2014): Review: Disability and new media,
Disability & Society, DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2013.864864

You can buy Disability and New Media on the Routledge website. The authors, Katie Ellis (@KkatieEllis) and Mike Kent (@cultware) can also be found on Twitter.

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