Assisted Bodies on the Move: The Social Meaning of Mobility Augmentations

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:00-17:30
Location: Hörsaal 22 (Juridicum)
RC54 The Body in the Social Sciences (host committee)

Language: English

Contemporary absence of aesthetics in current mass-produced mobility support devices creates a single identity and social story for people captured, segregated, and marginalized in the embodied disability category. In this session we use a material culture lens to explore the meaning of diverse mobility objects over history. This intellectual work is critical for analysis, undesign, and redesign of objects that allow-enhance embodied movement in private and public spaces. 
Documented history reveals the constancy of mobility augmentation as a human endeavor. Whether the invention of the wheel, the ornate or plain walking stick, or the wheelchair, mobility augmentation objects appear in image, text, symbol, and metaphor. Why some denote power and wealth while others attribute embodied deficit and violation of humanness to their owners can become transparent if systematically analyzed for meaning and purpose. Also referred to as artifacts, objects are simply defined as concrete tangibles of human workmanship. 
Although studied as archeology over several centuries, the recent emergence of the field of material culture has brought life, interactivity, intertextuality, and intentional scholarly interpretation to objects. Similar to the classic work of Fussell, who interrogated how household objects can be read as indicators of social class, Miller suggests a broad application of object reading as rich for social analysis and change. Following Miller’s charge, this session extends object reading and design analysis to assisted bodies on the move over history as the basis for understanding and re-introduction of value to the diversely moving body.
Session Organizer:
Liz DEPOY, University of Maine, USA
Liz DEPOY, University of Maine, USA
Power of the Body in Representations of Laestadianism
Sandra WALLENIUS-KORKALO, University of Lapland, Finland
Tic y Educación Del Cuerpo En La Escuela: Maestros y Sus Concepciones
Geusiane TOCANTINS, UnB - Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil; Ingrid Dittrich WIGGERS, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brazil