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Representations of handicaped in the portuguese press: hegemony and emancipation

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Author(s): Patrícia Neca | Paula Castro

Journal: Estudos em Comunicação
ISSN 1646-4974

Volume: 12;
Start page: 367;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: social representations | social stereotypes | disability | press analysis

ABSTRACT
The purpose of this study is to describe and analyze what are the representations that three Portuguese general-interest newspapers - Diário de Notícias, Jornal de Notícias and Público - construct and convey about people with disabilities. The analysis was guided by the perspective of social representations, on the assumption that the views conveyed by the press are shared by society and affect the public opinion. A total of 220 articles about disabilities, published in November and December between 2004 and 2009 where analyzed. The results show that there is little questioning in the newspapers regarding issues related with disability and that there are different representations mediated by different newspapers. Diário de Notícias and Público convey hegemonic representations, in other words, don´t discuss the disability issues and show the group as homogeneous, incompetent and object of social policies, thus blocking the appearance of new representations. Jornal de Notícias convey emancipated representations, this is, opens space to the debate of the new ideas, showing disabled people as competent, mainly in articles about awareness raising and physical disability. This debate enhances the appearance of new representations. Regarding mental disability, it appears associated to the stereotype of incompetence, in all the newspapers analyzed.
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