Against Technoableism

The Pulse

14-10-2023 • 27分


On this episode of the Pulse, Joeita and her guest Ashley Shew discuss the concept of Techno-Ableism, which refers to the idea that technology is often seen as the solution for disability. They explore how disabled individuals are often pressured to use the latest technology and are criticized for choosing alternative options. The conversation also touches on the importance of including disabled individuals in the design and development of technology, as well as the limitations and failures of certain technologies. They emphasize the need for a shift in the narrative around disability and technology, allowing disabled individuals to take control of their own stories and challenge the able savior narrative.

Link to Ashley Shew:

Episode Highlights:

  • What is Techno-Ableism? (1:55)
  • When is "Lower-tech" best? (7:09)
  • Is there a difference between tech designed for people with disabilities vs. mainstream tech that people with disabilities adopt? (10:25)
  • Are we spending enough time discussing the reality of using tech? (13:33)
  • How can people with disabilities challenge the "Able-Savior" narrative? (16:59)
  • The high cost of tech (22:18)
  • Excerpt from Ashley Shew’s book “Against Technoableism: Rethinking Who Needs Improvement”. (24:17)

About Ashley Shew:

Ashley Shew is an associate professor of science, technology, and society at Virginia Tech and specializes in disability studies and technology ethics. With support from the Mellon Foundation, she is developing a Disability Community Technology (DisCoTec) Center in collaboration with UNC-Charlotte and Virginia Tech. Her previous books include Animal Constructions and Technological Knowledge and Spaces for the Future. She lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.


About The Pulse

On The Pulse, host Joeita Gupta brings us closer to issues impacting the disability community across Canada.

Joeita Gupta has nurtured a life-long dream to work in radio! She's blind, moved to Toronto in 2004 and got her start in radio at CKLN, 88.1 FM in Toronto. A former co-host of AMI-audio's Live from Studio 5, Joeita also works full-time at a nonprofit in Toronto, specializing in housing/tenant rights.

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The Pulse airs weekly on AMI-audio.

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AMI is a not-for-profit media company that entertains, informs and empowers Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. Operating three broadcast services, AMI-tv and AMI-audio in English and AMI-télé in French, AMI’s vision is to establish and support a voice for Canadians with disabilities, representing their interests, concerns and values through inclusion, representation, accessible media, reflection, representation and portrayal.

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