chapter  2
15 Pages

A culture of participation?

ByE. Kay M. Tisdall

In 1997, the controller of Radio 4, James Boyle, announced a decision to reorganise the coverage of disability issues of Radio 4 as part of a wider rescheduling initiative. The decision to mainstream disability issues on Radio 4 raises many interesting issues about the role of the media in contributing to cultural representations of disabled people. This chapter examines production and content matters, considering the intentions of the controller and programme producers with regard to the treatment of disability pre- and post-rescheduling and the ways in which these intentions were reflected in programme content and tone. It presents data from key informant interviews and programme content analysis to explore shifts in disability discourses pre- and post-rescheduling. The decision to shift coverage of disability into a programme with an explicit consumerist orientation implies a particular conception of disabled people as individuals rather than as members of a political movement with common interests.