In order to research my chosen critical theory subject, I looked at numerous different resources, mainly from books and internet sites. I was able to pull together a lot of research on my chosen area of interest. I used Stuart Hall’s Representation book (1997) as a main resource on understanding representation. Stuart Hall’s material helped me a lot in understanding representation and how representations change, dependent on different culture and era. I learnt that there could be many representations of the same thing as different language from different social groups, communities and nations change. I learnt that meanings are not fixed and that in order to have the same understanding, we must share the same cultural codes. I learnt that power has a huge impact on stereotyping and meanings within society and the media. I was able to apply what I had learnt to Foucault’s theory of power to show how acceptance of disability has changed over time and also link theories films or TV shows I used as examples. By researching disables theorists I learnt that although disabled people are being represented much more in the Media today, disabled characters in films and television shows are still being portrayed with stereotypical aspects such as unable to carry out certain tasks or be in a relationship or still being ignored. I learnt that negative signifiers are present throughout the films I researched. Disabled characters are monstrous to the rest of society and depicts that society will never accept them as normal human beings with a disability or even human beings with their own identity. I learnt that the entertainment industry is reluctant to employ disabled actors out of fear of them not knowing how to do something and so the audience can accept the characters are ‘not real’ as disability seems to be in a completely different reality to non disabled people. The theories I studied showed me that representation of disability has changed reflecting the disability movements and social models but also showed me that the media still represents disabled people stereotypically showing just how powerful the media is at shaping society. Media shapes disabled people with war wounds as heroes but shapes other disabilities negatively. I was able to further my knowledge on how cultural change affects acceptance of difference and how, only recently, events such as the Paralympics have helped society start to change perceptions. I also learnt how Hollywood is still reluctant to show disabilities with a physical element that will ‘scare’ viewers and so still living in the past that disabled people were cursed and evil, I feel like I have a much better understanding of Foucault’s theory about how power impacts society and causes society to ‘follow’ and stereotype what they class as the ‘norm’. Getting Primary research enabled me to get a clear understanding and real opinions from real disabled people in the community today.

To carry on my theory of the representation of disabled people, I need to research ideology further and how cultural change has affected the ideologies in which people think about disability in today’s society. I want to research if ideologies have shaped society through culture or through representation through the media. I also want to research if gender, age, race and nationality have had any affect on ideologies and what people consider to be correct for the role of disabled people today.

*All handwritten notes that were taken from research resources can be found in the folder that was handed in along with a hard copy of my essay.*


  • Masschelein. A – May 2011 – The Unconcept: The Freudian Uncanny in Late-Twentieth-Century Theory – ‪SUNY Press.
  • Barnes. C – 1992 – The British council of organisations of disabled people. ISBN: 1 85331 042 5
  • Mairs. N- 2002 – ‘SEX AND DEATH AND THE CRIPPLED BODY: A MEDITATION. In ‘disability studies: enabling the humanities, edited by Sharon l. Snyder, Brenda jo Brueggemann and Rosemarie garland-Thompson, 156-170. NY modern language association of America.
  • Major. B and L. T. O’Brien. ‘The social psychology of stigma’ annual review of psychology 56 (2005)
  • Kuipers. J.C – 2003 – Language Ideologies: practice and theory – November 2003.
  • David J. Skal – 1993 – The Monster Show – A cultural History of Horror (Revised Edition)
  • The films of Tod Browning edited by Bernd Herzogenrath – July 2006 ISBN: 10-1-904772-51-X.
  • Goffman. E – 1986 – Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled Identity ISBN 0671622447 (9780671622442) New York, Simon and Schuster.
  • Greenberg, B. S. (1988). Some uncommon television images and the drench hypothesis.
  • Hall. S. (2001) Representation.
  • Dyer, R. (1997) The role of stereotypes.
  • Ellis. K – 2008 – Disabling Diversities. The social construction of Disability in 1990’s Australian National Cinema. 978-3-639-02357-2
  • Barnes. C & Mercer. G – 2003 – Disability. ISBN: 978-07456-2509-6

Internet sites:

Primary Research: MDUK Trailblazers Facebook page. (Closed group I am part of on Facebook)  These are responses to the Paralympic Advert and the malteaser adverts released by Channel 4 from actual disabled people.