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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: What are you looking at?: Representations of disability in documentary films
Author(s): Tsakiri, Maria
Supervisor(s): Swanson, Dalene
Field, John
Blain, Neil
Keywords: disability
documentary films
crip killjoys
crip analysis
critical disability studies
disability film festivals
Issue Date: Dec-2015
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This study sets out to explore the representations of disability in documentary films. Its starting point is that when such representations of disability films are under examination, one needs to take into consideration a level of complexities that come with disability, the construction and functionalities of representations, and more particularly the impact of documentary films on understanding disability. In order to address this issue, I draw upon disability theory and disability aesthetics, crip theory and crip willfulness, as well as practices of good looking, synthesising in this way a theoretical framework that responds to matters of intersectionality and criticality in relation to the analysis of representations of disability. To this end, I employ a mixed method design, which is based on participant observation, the methods of the written festival and a critical disability studies (crip) analysis for examining selected documentary films alongside a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews that were conducted with disabled viewers who attended the Emotion Pictures – Documentary and Disability Film Festival in Athens, Greece. Its findings indicate that representations of documentary films familiarise viewers with disability. This familiarisation and the development of political engagement by depicting crip killjoys are the key elements that create representations of a different context and meaning in comparison to those produced by media and fiction films. My analysis reveals that depictions of crip killjoys who are conscious of their political identity, speak out and take action are depictions that ask for political engagement. As such, they can produce good staring. Visibility and social dialogue are two of the benefits of disability film festivals that are highlighted by disabled viewers.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Education

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