iConstruct: virtual disabilities in online settings
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The present study focused on cultural constructions of disability in virtual settings, examining specifically how cultural constructions of disability were mediated through the use of online technology. This was accomplished by identifying and analyzing Greek Cypriot online news media articles and online readers’ posts in response to these articles. Findings indicated that disability in these online settings mainly reproduced traditional models of disability, with the charity model being more prevalent. However, there were instances in which dominant discourses of disability were ruptured through the introduction of counter-narratives in users’ posts which echoed the human rights model of disability. Implications for the fields of media, education and disability studies are discussed in relation to the possibility of using digital media to contribute to the challenge of critical media literacy to address issues of diversity and disability.