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Disability Media Studies$
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Elizabeth Ellcessor and Bill Kirkpatrick

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479867820

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479867820.001.0001

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After School Special Education

After School Special Education

Sex, Tolerance, and Rehabilitative Television

Chapter:
(p.52) 2 After School Special Education
Source:
Disability Media Studies
Author(s):

Julie Passanante Elman

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479867820.003.0003

In her analysis of ABC’s After School Specials (1972–1995), Julie Passanante Elman argues that disability was central to television's "turn toward relevance" and its construction of the "teen viewer." The Specials represented coming of age by consistently linking heterosexuality with able-bodiedness and metaphorically representing adolescence as a process of “overcoming disability.” Simultaneously, they redefined both teen television viewing and teen sexuality as productive rather than damaging. Articulating insights from disability studies to television studies, Elman demonstrates how the Specials’ disability narratives negotiated the complex terrain of teen sexuality, representations of disability, and an assertion of commercial television’s educational value.

Keywords:   television, After School Specials, sexuality, disability

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