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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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“A Blessed Boon”

“A Blessed Boon”

Radio, Disability, Governmentality, and the Discourse of the “Shut-In,” 1920–1930

(p.330) 14 “A Blessed Boon”
Disability Media Studies

Bill Kirkpatrick

NYU Press

Disability and media shape each other in often surprising ways. Through his analysis of the discourse of the disabled “shut-in” in the first decade of broadcasting, Bill Kirkpatrick reveals how, in the realm of media and social policy, ideas about disability helped shape the U.S. radio system while, simultaneously, ideas about radio influenced the social meanings of disability. Drawing on Foucauldian notions of governmentality and cultural policy, he argues that disability and media have been co-constitutive since the birth of broadcasting, each helping to produce and regulate the other, with subtle but significant political and cultural consequences.

Keywords:   radio, policy, shut-in, governmentality

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