Scottish Disability Organizations and Online Media: A Path to Empowerment or “Business as Usual”?

Filippo Trevisan


Can online media help disabled people become more engaged in the organizations that represent their interests in the public arena? Using a combination of Web content analysis and qualitative interviews, this article investigates whether online communications are challenging traditional patterns of power distribution in Scottish disability organizations. Overall, empirical findings only partially matched expectations that member-led groups would be more inclined than ‘professionalized’ charities to embrace interactive online media. Although most groups acknowledged the Internet’s potential to empower disabled users, none of them deliberately pursued that outcome through their respective Web outlets. Instead, conservative views on the Internet prevailed across the entire organizational spectrum. Nonetheless, the analysis revealed also that such ‘minimalistic’ approach to online media was in fact underpinned by very different motives for disability non-profits on one side and self-advocacy groups on the other.


Internet; advocacy; disability organizations; empowerment; Scotland.

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Copyright (c) 2014 Filippo Trevisan

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ISSN: 2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)