Society for Cultural Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Technological interventions can become forms of marginalisation rather than drivers for inclusion. This potential marginalisation alters relations within organisations, between people, and changes intra-actions of people and technologies. In my work on dDeaf identity and the use of video technology, I discuss how the the Swedish state and organisational policies accommodate ways of being dDeaf. However, communication technologies used to conduct the everyday work of television production disrupt these. While Swedish television (SVT) supports Deaf culture and Sign Language, the video technology used to communicate in the workplace does not. Understanding the role media technologies play in working through inequalities is therefore creates conditions through which ways of being dDeaf are restricted to deafness as disability. A close analysis of video meetings at SVT reveals how dDeaf employees navigate between possibilities and impossibilities; ability and disability, to establish distinct ways of being dDeaf. These navigations take place in response to an embodied violence where technology enacts its ableist bias and reconfigures deafness in ways that conflict with SVT employees' own identities. By exploring the potentialities created and destroyed through video technologies, the shifts in what it means to be dDeaf at Swedish Television (SVT) become visible. Although video meeting technology promises potential inclusion through enabling Sign Language remote participation in meetings, it is in fact the SVT employees and their strategies to overcome the limitations of technology that makes visible marginalisation and shows ways to co-creatively circumvent the structural violence of technology.