Managing Social Exclusion through Technology: An Example of Art as Mediated Action

Najma Al Zidjaly



Disability, Art, Technology, Social Exclusion, Social Inclusion, Agency, Mediated Actio, Culture, Oman


The compelling role that art plays in managing emotions and healing is well documented in disability research (Ainsworth-Vaughn, 1998; Corbett, 1999; Al Zidjaly, 2005, 2007). The strategic role that art can play in combating social exclusion and inciting societal change, however, is under-examined. This article extends recent developments in multimodality that build on mediated discourse analysis (Scollon, 2001) to fill this gap. It demonstrates how a person with a disability from the Islamic Arab country Oman, where the outdated medical model of disability still prevails, strategically uses a semiotic resource (Microsoft PowerPoint) to create mediated actions (animated music videos) that manage interpersonal and social exclusion. I specifically focus on how Yahya, creatively draws on various cultural customs in making these music videos. I also show how this plays a role in not only alleviating disability's effect on Yahya's social life, but also in leading to wider social change. In viewing art as a form of mediated action, this study has far-reaching consequences for both disability and multimodality studies—in particular, regarding the various multimodal ways through which exclusion can be managed. The study also contributes to our understanding of disability and its relationship to art and technology in a non-Western culture.


Disability; Art; Technology; Social Exclusion; Social Inclusion; Agency; Mediated Action; Culture; Oman

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Copyright (c) 2011 Najma Al Zidjaly

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