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    Anthropology and digital media: multivocal materialities of video meetings and deafness

    Cupitt, Rebekah (2022) Anthropology and digital media: multivocal materialities of video meetings and deafness. In: Costa, E. and Lange, P.G. and Haynes, N. and Sinanan, J. (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Media Anthropology. Routledge Anthropology Handbooks. London, UK: Routledge Taylor & Francis, pp. 200-212. ISBN 9781003175605.

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    Being deaf is often framed as a disability in mainstream discourse. At SVT Teckenspråk (Swedish television's team for programming in Swedish Sign Language) between 2010-2013, deafness was more than disability. It was about a shared visual culture - one that has become increasingly mediated by technologies. The SVT Teckenspråk team, at the time of this study, consisted of deaf and hearing employees who have as their goal to increase Swedish citizens' awareness of Sign Language, as well as providing a cornerstone of cultural exchange for the Swedish d/Deaf community. This article presents a moment in the institutional history of SVT Teckenspråk, when employees understand deafness as more than clinical definitions of deafness, and where focus is instead turned on Sign Language as an embodied expression of Deaf culture. Sign Language from this perspective becomes a shared canon of meanings conveyed through the primarily visual media of film, television and video meeting technologies. In this chapter, I examine the performance of a mediated version of deafness. Using a detailed account of a video meeting as an example of technologically mediated communication in Sign Language, I identify key elements of Swedish Sign Language communication, visual media technologies,  and how these reconfigure and materialise different ways of being deaf. In video meetings, Sign Language and deafness are established as inherently bound to embodied and performative enactments of deaf identities and which are, to some extent, contingent on technological mediation.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): media anthropology, disability, Deaf Culture, technology, human-computer interaction, multivocal, materiality, video meetings, deaf, Deaf, dDeaf
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture (BIRMAC) (Closed)
    Depositing User: Rebekah Cupitt
    Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2024 07:54
    Last Modified: 11 Apr 2024 07:54


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