CFP: Disability and Social Media (edited collection)

Abstracts due: 15th July 2014

Potential authors are invited to submit chapter abstract of no more than 500 words, including a title, 4 to 6 keywords, and a brief bio, by email to both Dr. Kent @ and Dr. Ellis @ Please indicate in your proposal if you wish to use any visual material, and how you have or will gain copyright clearance for visual material. Authors will receive a response by 15th August 2014, with those provisionally accepted due as chapters of no more than 6000 words (including references) by 15th November 2015.

Social media is popularly seen as an important media for people with disability in terms of communication, exchange and activism. These sites potentially increase both employment and leisure opportunities for one of the most traditionally isolated groups in society. However, the offline inaccessible environment has, to a certain degree, been replicated online and particularly social networking sites. For example, despite recognized benefits of social inclusion for people with disabilities, Scott Hollier notes the continuation of inaccessibility in social media in his report Sociability: Social Media for People with a Disability:

…all of the popular social media tools remain inaccessible to some degree. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, blogging websites and the emerging Google+ all feature limited accessibly, denying many consumers with disabilities the opportunity to participate in social media. Fortunately, users have often found ways around the accessibility barriers such as alternative website portals, mobile apps, additional keyboard navigation shortcuts and online support groups. This is a rich source of expertise, and social media users with disability continue to find creative ways to access the most popular platforms. (Hollier 2012)

Although Hollier paints a dreary picture regarding accessibility in social media, his report holds much scope for optimism, as do we. Social media is becoming an increasingly important part of our lives yet the impact on people with disabilities has gone largely unscrutinised. This collection will explore the opportunities and challenges social media represents for the social inclusion of people with disabilities.

The book will be published as part of Ashgate’s Interdisciplinary Disability Studies series. Some suggested topics (which are by no means exhaustive):

  • Activism
  • Communication
  • Community creation
  • Leisure/Entertainment/ Socialising
  • Creating new types of representation
  • Web/media literacy
  • Mashups
  • Education
  • Social Network specific case studies

We are particularly interested in chapter proposals that explore social networks popular outside the Anglosphere.


About the editors:

The editors are from the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University. Dr Katie Ellis is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University. Her research focuses on disability and the media extending across both representation and active possibilities for social inclusion. Her books include Disability and New Media (2011 with Mike Kent), Disabling Diversity (2008), Disability, Ageing and Obesity: Popular Media Identifications (2014 with Debbie Rodan & Pia Lebeck), Disability and the Media (2015 with Gerard Goggin), and Disability and Popular Culture (2015). Dr Mike Kent’s research focus is on people with disabilities and their use of, and access to, information technology and the Internet. His other area of research interest is in higher education and particularly online education, as well as online social networking platforms. His edited collection An Education in Facebook? Higher Education and the World’s Largest Social Network was released in May 2014 through Routledge.

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