Accepted Paper:

Activism #Fail? Considering deafness in organisational processes of video meeting technology procurement at Swedish television.  

Author:

Rebekah Cupitt (Birkbeck, University of London)

Paper short abstract:

Activism in the field takes many forms and most researchers are prepared to care and become engaged. What happens if their engagement is in ways that don't count? This is an account of such an engagement at Swedish television's editorial for programming in sign language.

Paper long abstract:

What happens when the engagement and relations of care which a researcher has with those she studies with, is not that which is asked for? Further, what happens when this engagement is appropriated by those in power to legitimise their goals, sometimes at the expense of those very people, the anthropologist cares about? This paper takes up examples from fieldwork at Swedish Television's editorial for programming in Swedish sign language (SVT Teckenspråk) and gives an honest account of a researcher who was at first unable to deliver the kind of help expected only to later become co-opted into a procurement process that ultimately failed to consider those that mattered, in any way that mattered. The case under consideration is the procurement of video meeting technology for Swedish Television. The crux of the issue was the difference in demands communication in sign language versus Swedish. This became a deliberation of the requirements of the deaf employees contra the hearing employees. I offer here, a reflection through empirical examples, of one researcher's engagement with SVT Teckenspråk over a four year period of time and the ways in which I worked to put deaf needs in the workplace on the organisational agenda. I also offer a reflection over how working for and working with is significantly different and ask if the role of researcher as activist always matters?

Panel T100
Feminist Technoscience Studies in Unexpected Places: (Intra)Activism and Social Justice