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Cyberspace as equalizer : opening up lifeworlds and empowering persons with disabilities in the Philippines

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Item Summary

Title: Cyberspace as equalizer : opening up lifeworlds and empowering persons with disabilities in the Philippines
Authors: Noble, Cecilia Dionco
Keywords: disability
cyberspace
lifeworld
self
stigma and social interaction
Issue Date: May 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2012]
Abstract: PURPOSE This paper seeks to understand and explain how cyberspace can be an equalizer and empower persons with disabilities (PWD).
FINDINGS Using cyberspace, each of the PWD groups studied has found an alternative and additional stage for the "presentation of the self in everyday life' that overcomes stigma and manages impressions. Cases presented provide empirical evidence of PWD non-profit groups using social networking tools such as websites, blogs, Facebook and YouTube to manage social and professional relationships. Thus proving that cyberspace can facilitate agency through a virtual social identity that complements actual social identity.
To empower persons with disabilities and open up new lifeworlds, this paper submits three levels of engagement in the offline world that complements the online interaction previously outlined. First is through participation that proves Erving Goffman's theory of ego alignment. The PWD must end isolation and be part of multi-agent action that may be in the form of education, training and any other form of human enterprise. Second is performance in both backstage (preparations) and front stage (actual work) area of operations. The goal of back and front stage performance is role fulfillment. Third is production, which is the intended byproduct of performance that can lead to empowerment. Good performance can lead to actor-audience consensus that is geared toward acceptance of the PWD, the presentation of himself and the work that he can accomplish. This can lead to encounters and subsequent production and reproduction of social structure and relationships, e.g. employer-employee relationships, donor-benefactor relations and eventually disability pride.
ORIGINALITY / VALUE This article argues cyberspace can serve as tool for impression management for the PWD groups. On the micro level, the case studies presented herein, serve to initiate the formal chronicling of the history of disability in the Philippines. It aims to contribute to oriental and developing world disability discourse that is predominantly western. On the macro level, it seeks to apply Goffman's theory of dramaturgy and social interaction in explaining the social behavior of PWD in cyberspace and its 'net effect' on the real world.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/101417
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Sociology



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