Sites of Normalcy: Understanding Online Education as Prosthetic Technology

Marie Moeller, Julie Jung


Research on online education in relation to disability has, importantly, focused on issues of access and usability. This article seeks to complicate this research by examining the ways in which online education participates in an ideology of normalcy. Toward this end, we first describe online education as a site that promotes normalcy through its material practices of marginalization. We then extend this reading by analyzing how cultural narratives about online education function asdiscursive sites of normalcy by marking both online education and its users as less-than substitutes for the "real" versions. By constructing online education as a prosthetic technology, these narratives persuade marginalized bodies to recognize themselves as problems in need of solution, yet this reading itself becomes open to revision when we consider how the complexities of embodiment challenge an understanding of normalcy as a determinate discursive force.


online education; prosthetic; rhetoric; emotion; materiality

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Copyright (c) 2015 Marie Moeller, Julie Jung

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