Disability Rights Advocacy Online: Voice, Empowerment and Global Connectivity by Filippo Trevisan (American University, USA)
Disability rights advocates in the United Kingdom and the United States recently embraced new media technologies in unexpected and innovative ways. This book sheds light on this process of renewal and asks whether the digitalisation of disability rights advocacy can help re-configure political participation into a more inclusive experience for disabled Internet users, enhancing their stakes in democratic citizenship. Through the examination of social media content, Web link analysis, and interviews with leading figures in grassroots groups on both sides of the Atlantic, Filippo Trevisan reveals the profound impact that the Internet has had on disability advocacy in the wake of the austerity agenda that followed the 2008 global financial crisis. In Britain, a new, tech-savvy generation of young disabled self-advocates has emerged from this process. The role of social media platforms such as Facebook in helping politically inexperienced users make sense of complex policy changes through the use of personal stories is discussed also. In addition, this book explains why British disability advocates adopted more innovative and participatory strategies compared to their American counterparts when faced with similar policy crises. This book reviews the implications of this unexpected digital transformation for the structure of the disability rights movement, its leadership, and the opportunity for disabled citizens to participate fully in democratic politics vis-a-vis persisting Web access and accessibility barriers. An original perspective on the relationship between disability and the Internet, and an indispensable read for scholars wishing to contextualize and enrich their knowledge on digital disability rights campaigns vis-a-vis the broader ecology of policymaking.