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    The Role of HCI in the Construction of Disability

    HCI2012 - People & Computers XXVI

    Proceedings of HCI 2012
    The 26th BCS Conference on Human Computer Interaction

    Birmingham, UK, 12 - 14 September 2012


    Gustavo Armagno


    Assistive technology research and development community deals with a phenomenon that goes beyond medical concerns. For many years, international human-rights organizations, disabled activists, and disability studies community, have proposed alternative discourses on disability that, from different perspectives, expand the understanding on the phenomenon, potentially impacting on HCI praxis. However, assistive technology literature is still deeply rooted in the much maligned medical model of disability. Following this model have practical, ethical, and political implications, for it potentially obscures the underlying social inequity. The threefold objective of this paper is to raise awareness within the HCI community about the existence of different discourses on disability, to call into question the idea of 'neutral praxis', and to suggest that interpreting and understanding the social forces underneath HCI praxis might provide more appropriate and useful solutions.


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