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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

The Department also includes the iSchool Research Group, which performs leading research into socio-technical phenomena and topics such as information retrieval and information seeking behaviour.

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Did you see that guy in the wheelchair down the pub? Interactions across difference in a public place

Lenney, M. and Sercombe, H. (2002) Did you see that guy in the wheelchair down the pub? Interactions across difference in a public place. Disability and Society, 17 (1). pp. 5-18. ISSN 0968-7599

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Abstract

Most research undertaken on interactions between able-bodied people and people with physical disabilities has focused on the way that people with disabilities are de-humanised during the interaction process. Little attention has been given to the possibility that able bodied people are unsure of how to go about interacting with people with disabilities (Soder, 1990). Looking is a complex business. This paper reports a qualitative study of interaction in public places with Elton, a young person coping with cerebral palsy. Participants were observed and filmed in a cafeacuteand a public bar. Elton and I were the only participants aware of the camera attached to his head rest. Elton and the other participants used visual symbols to assess approachability, status, ability, attractiveness, and quality of character. The difficulty in each encounter is that it is shaped by people's interpretation of the other, arrived at by their own projections of meaning attached to the 'form' of the body. There were also tensions in the process of looking: in particular, around eye contact, and the desire to avoid appearing to stare.