Spectacle, Performance, and the Re-Presentation of Disability and Impairment

Main Article Content

Alison Wilde


audience, performance, television narratives, exclusion


This article proposes the value of investigating audience interpretations as viewing performances to interrogate disabling discourses on popular television. In synthesising media and disability studies approaches, performances of identities are investigated, contextualizing the media as a crucial factor in forms of cultural identification, contributing to patterns of exclusion and inclusion.

Abstract 661 | PDF Downloads 183 Word Downloads 20 Text Downloads 88


Abercrombie, N., & Longhurst, B. (1998). Audiences. London: Sage.

Alasuutari, P. (1999). Rethinking the media audience. London: Sage.

Barnes, C. (1992). Disabling imagery and the media: An exploration of the principles for media representations of disabled people. Halifax, NS, Canada: Ryburn.

Barnes, C., Mercer, G., & Shakespeare, T. (1999). Exploring disability: A sociological introduction. Oxford: Polity.

Biklen, D., & Bogdan, R. (1977). Media portrayals of disabled people: A study of stereotypes. Interracial Books for Children Bulletin, 8, 4-9.

Bury, M. (1982). Chronic illness as biographical disruption. Sociology of Health and Illness, 4(2), 167-192.

Cumberbatch, G., & Negrine, R. (1992). Images of disability on television. London: Routledge.

Darke, P. (1998). Understanding cinematic representations of disability. In T. Shakespeare (Ed.), The disability reader: Social science perspectives. London: Cassell.

Fenichel, O. (1999). The Scoptophilic Instinct and identification. In J. Evans & S. Hall (Eds.), Visual culture: The reader. London: Sage.

Fraser, N. (1996). Justice interruptus: Critical reflections on the ‘postsocialist’ condition. London: Routledge.

Gavin, J. (2000). Television teen drama and HIV/AIDS: The role of genre in audience understandings of safe sex. Continuum, 15(1), 77-196.

Hall, S. (1980). Encoding/decoding. In S. Hall, D. Hobson, A. Lowe, & P. Willis (Eds.), Culture, media, language: Working papers in cultural studies 1972 – 79. London: Hutchinson in association with the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies.

Kent, D. (1987) Disabled women: Portraits in fiction and drama. In A. Gartner & T. Joe, (Eds.), Images of the disabled, disabling images. New York: Praeger.

Klobas, L. E. (1988). Disability drama in television and film. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Kriegel, L. (1987). The cripple in literature. In A Gartner & T. Joe (Eds.), Images of the disabled, disabling images. New York: Praeger.

Lasch, C. (1980). The culture of narcissism. London: Sphere.

Liebes, T., & Katz, E. (1993). The export of meaning: Cross-cultural readings of Dallas. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Longmore, P. (1987). Screening stereotypes: Images of disabled people in television and motion pictures. In A. Gartner & T. Joe (Eds.), Images of the disabled, disabling images. New York: Praeger.

McNay, L. (2000). Gender and agency. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

Nochimson, M. (1997). Amnesia ‘r’ us: The retold melodrama, soap opera, and the representation of reality. Film Quarterly, 50(3), 27-38.

Norden, M. E. (1994). The cinema of isolation. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

O'Donnell, H. (1999). Good times, bad times: Soap operas in Western Europe. London: Leicester University Press.

Oliver, M. (1990). The politics of disablement. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan.

Sancho, J. (2003). Disabling prejudice: Attitudes towards disability and its portrayal on television. British Broadcasting Corporation, Broadcasting Standards Commission and Independent Television Commission. Retrieved from http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/bsc/pdfs/research/disability.pdf

Shakespeare, T. (1994). Cultural representation of disabled people: Dustbins for disavowal? Disability and Society, 9(3), 283-99.

Shakespeare, T. (1999). Art and lies? Representations of disability on film. In M. Corker & S. French (Eds.), Disability discourse. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.

Warner, J. (2006). Inquiry reports as active texts and their function in relation to professional practice in mental health. Health, Risk and Society, 8(3), 223-237.

Wilde, A. (2004). Performing disability. In M. King & K. Watson (Eds.), Representing health: Discourses of health and illness in the media. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.