Exclusionary visual depiction of disabled persons in Malaysian news photographs

Ang, Pei Soo and Yeo, Siang Lee (2018) Exclusionary visual depiction of disabled persons in Malaysian news photographs. Discourse & Communication, 12 (5). pp. 457-477. ISSN 1750-4813, DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/1750481318766922.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/1750481318766922


Disability has been perceived as a social conditioning phenomenon and a sign system marking the body and mind. Accordingly, photographs of disability could shape our cultural perceptions about disability and disabled persons. In response to this position, we engage in a critical semiotic inquiry into press photographs of disability (N = 1002) from The Star, a Malaysian mainstream English newspaper. We adapted Van Leeuwen’s (2008) social and visual actor networks to understand the visual techniques employed in depicting disabled actors in these images. The depiction is examined in relation to their absence and/or presence in these published photographs. If absent, the inclusion of non-disabled is analyzed. When present, the social categorizations of roles, grouping and specific/generic depictions are investigated. Findings reveal disabled persons have been symbolically excluded and thus, socially othered. These exclusionary strategies imply disabling journalistic practices which should be cautioned as they could could potentially undermine the advocacy for an inclusive society.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Critical disability studies; critical discourse analysis; critical semiotics; discourses of disability; exclusionary practice; news photographs; photojournalism; visual actors
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > Communication. Mass media
Divisions: Faculty of Languages and Linguistics
Depositing User: Ms. Juhaida Abd Rahim
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2019 03:48
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2019 03:48
URI: http://eprints.um.edu.my/id/eprint/20634

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