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Uniting the nation? Disability, stem cells, and the Australian media


Goggin, G and Newell, CJ, Uniting the nation? Disability, stem cells, and the Australian media, Disability & Society, 19, (1) pp. 47-60. ISSN 0968-7599 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/0968759032000155622


In this article, the 2002 Australian debate regarding embryonic stem cells is examined. This shows the importance of an analysis of the media to understanding how disability is constructed in discourses of nationhood and biotechnology. Media representation of disability - for instance, signifying disability as catastrophe - is seen as crucial in securing access to a variety of biotechnologies, such as embryonic stem cells. Analysis of such media moments shows a structure of privileged and excluded voices in debates regarding disability and biotechnology. The diversity of voices in the Australian community regarding disability is not represented in a range of media, nor are people with disability quoted as experts on disability. A recognition of the media's construction of disability must be matched by a commitment to disability as part of a truly civil society. It is only in this way that we will have biotechnologies, and diverse cultural and media representations that meet the requirements of the international disability rights movement motto of 'nothing about us without us', recently emphasized in the Disabled Peoples' International Europe's 2000 statement on biotechnology.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:People with disability
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community services
Objective Field:Ability and disability
UTAS Author:Newell, CJ (Associate Professor Christopher Newell)
ID Code:31873
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Medical Education Unit
Deposited On:2004-08-01
Last Modified:2005-04-19

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