Grzegorz Kubinski

Abstracts

2 Redefining Identity of People with Disabilities Based on Content Analysis of Instagram Accounts

Authors: Grzegorz Kubinski

Abstract:

The proposed paper is focused on forms of identity expression in people with disabilities (PWD) in the social networks like Instagram. Theoretical analysis widely proposes using the new media as an assistive tool for improving wellbeing and labour activities of PWD. This kind of use is definitely important and plays a key role in all social inclusion processes. However, Instagram is not a place where PWD only express their own problems, but in the opposite, allows them to construct a new definition of disability. In the paper, the problem how this different than a classical approach to disability is created by PWD will be discussed. This issue will be scrutinized mainly in two points. Firstly, the question of how disability is changed by other everyday activities, like fashion or sport, will be described. Secondly, and this could be seen as more important, the point how PWD redefining their bodies creating a different form of aesthetic will be presented. The paper is based on content analysis of Instagram accounts. About 20 accounts created by PWD were analyzed for 6 month period, taking into account elements like photos, comments and discussions. All those information were studied in relation to 'everyday life' category and 'aesthetic' category. Works by T. Siebers, L. J. Davis or R. McRuer were used as theoretical background. Conclusions and interpretations presented in the proposed paper show that the Internet can be used by PWD not only as prosthetic and assistive tools. PWD willingly use them as modes of expression their independence, agency and identity. The paper proposes that in further research this way of using the Internet communication by PWD should be taken into account as an important part of the understanding of disability.

Keywords: Disability, Identity, New Media, body

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1 Monstrous Beauty: Disability and Illness in Contemporary Pop Culture

Authors: Grzegorz Kubinski

Abstract:

In the proposed paper, we would like to present the phenomenon of disease and disability as an element of discourse redefining the contemporary canons of beauty and the category of normativity. In widely understood media, and above all in social media and fashion industry, the use of the disease as an aesthetic category has long been observed. There is an interesting case of promoting and maintaining a certain, ideal pattern of physical beauty, while at the same time very clear exploitation of various types of illnesses. The categories of disease and disabled body are shown as an element of the expression of the individuality and originality of one's own identity, while at the same time the disabled person is still experiencing social exclusion. Illness or body abnormality as an aesthetic category also functions as an ethical-political category. The analysis of the interrelations of these discourses will be presented on the example of selected projects present in social media, like Instagram or Facebook. We would like to present how old forms of 'curiosities' or 'abnormalities' turned into mainstream forms of a new aesthetic. For marginalized disabled people, there is a new form of expression and built their identity. But, there is an interesting point: are this contemporary forms of using disability and illness really new? Or maybe this is just another form of Wunderkammer or even cabinets of curiosities? We propose to analyze contemporary cultural and social context in order to clarify this issue. On the other hand, we would like to present some examples from personal interviews with disabled internet influencers and statements disabled persons concerning the role of the different body in society (e.g. #bodypositive, #perfeclyflawed).

Keywords: Disability, New Media, Fashion, defect

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