Restricted Access: Media, Disability, and the Politics of Participation

Author: Elizabeth Ellcessor

Published: NYU Press, 2016

Service: Indexing

While digital media can offer many opportunities for civic and cultural participation, this technology is not equally easy for everyone to use. Hardware, software, and cultural expectations combine to make some technologies an easier fit for some bodies than for others.

Restricted Access investigates digital media accessibility—the processes by which media is made usable by people with particular needs—and argues for the necessity of conceptualizing access in a way that will enable greater participation in all forms of mediated culture.

Drawing on disability and cultural studies, Elizabeth Ellcessor uses an interrogatory framework based around issues of regulation, use, content, form, and experience to examine contemporary digital media. Through interviews with policy makers and accessibility professionals, popular culture and archival materials, and an ethnographic study of internet use by people with disabilities, Ellcessor reveals the assumptions that undergird contemporary technologies and participatory cultures. 

Restricted Access makes the crucial point that if digital media open up opportunities for individuals to create and participate, but that technology only facilitates the participation of those who are already privileged, then its progressive potential remains unrealized.

* Book description from publisher

Cover of Elizabeth Ellcessor's book Restricted Access: Media, Disability, and the Politics of Participation. Cover contains author and title in white and yellow text against light green background illustration of a circuit board

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