Disability and Phenomenology

By Chris Wakeley


Disability and Phenomenology

A unique and final definition of phenomenology is dangerous and perhaps even paradoxical as it lacks a thematic focus. In fact, it is not a doctrine, nor a philosophical school, but rather a style of thought, a method, an open and ever-renewed experience having different results, and this may disorient anyone wishing to define the meaning of phenomenology. – Gabriella Farina


What was important about ASL Gloves:

ASL Gloves –

  • Seemed good at first, but
  • Cultural appropriation
    Hearing people don’t understand the world of deaf
    Performs a literal translation  

    • Facial expressions very important
    • Structure of first language shapes your perception of the world
    • Can ASL even be “translated”
  • Gloves give responsibility to ASL user
    • Deaf is already a minority
  • Gloves vs glasses, who is given the responsibility?

Semester Recap – What is important about:

Obstetric Ultrasound –

  • Helps check health of baby
    • Detects defects
    • Can be negative, termination of down syndrome  
  • Offers a check for disability
    • Negative
  • Promotes “control”
  • Separation of baby and mother
  • Societies role in providing care for the child

Semester Recap – What is important about:

Prosthetics –

  • Cost
    • Insurance doesn’t cover price
    • 3D printing making design open source, cheaper?
  • Not everyone wants to use
    • Pressure to use one to make others comfortable

Semester Recap – What is important about:

Sports –

  • Should be seen as an alternative
    • Same scale as olympics
  • Wedding scene from Murderball
    • Offense at special olympics
    • Joe is a jerk
  • Started as rehabilitation
  • Accessibility of viewing
  • Cost of entry

Semester Recap – What is important about:

  • Exoskeletons
  • Giving yourself up to the technology
    • Involvement of therapy
  • Similarity to ASL gloves
    • Where is the burden
      • On the individual, as opposed to the community/society
      • Who has to change?
      • Blame
  • How much of a problem is it solving
    • More important problems
      • Building accessibility
  • Culture of higher education
    • Seems to reward novelty
    • At cost of appropriation
    • Complete disregard for those who they claim to be helping

Semester Recap – Common themes

Technology is:

  • Social
  • Political
  • Emotional
  • Experiential

What have we been reading –
Narratives –


(Brief) History of phenomenology

Husserl
“Logical Investigations”
“Ideas”
– First to use the term “phenomenology” as it is used today
– Work described the “science of experience”
– How do we extract the essence of experience
– Relation to the natural world is unimportant

Heidegger  
“Being and Time” (dedicated to Husserl)
– Consciousness is an effect of existence

Black and white portrait photo of Edmund Hussrl
Edmund Hussrl 1859 – 1938
Black and white portrait photo of Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger 1889 – 1976

What is time?

  • Can be described scientifically, and measured by instruments
  • On the other hand, our perception transforms it

Diagram comparing a stopwatch to the phrase


What is a sidewalk?

  • What is an ultrasound?
  • What is a cochlear implant?
  • What is a prosthetic?

How do we know what we know?

Experiments vs Lived experiences

What have we been reading? Narratives, experiences

What can we learn through studies vs stories


Human Computer Interaction (HCI) History

“The three paradigms of HCI” – 2007, Harrison, Tatar, Sengers

  • Paradigm 1: Roots in Taylorism (Scientific Management)
    Interaction is a human-machine coupling
    “Male pilots react faster to female warning voice”
  • Paradigm 2: Cognitive information model
    Interaction is communication of information
    Mind is modeled as an information processor
    “Female voice increases signal to noise ratio”
  • Paradigm 3: Phenomenological Matrix
    Interaction is situated in the matrix
    Artifact and context at all levels are influential of the way we make meaning
    “How does the pilot feel about the voice”

NPR radiolab Moments


Embodied interaction

  • Paul Dourish

  • Embodiment: The way in which we come to view the world derives crucially from our physical and social locations

  • In other words: We think by doing things

  • Cottage cheese

Critical Design (1/2)

  • Design not for functionality, but to make people think

  • Often challenges the status quo

Critical Design (2/2)

4 Figures, clockwise from top left: A birdhouse on a wooden post, A compass with earbuds attached, a lamp that ends in a snorkle, a Tamagotchi toy without buttons
Figure 1 (Clockwise from top-left): a) The Dawn Chorus b) The (De) Tour Guide c) The Telegotchi d) The Prayer Device Binder, Thomas, Jonas Löwgren, and Lone Malmborg, eds. (Re) Searching The Digital Bauhaus
  • Dawn Chorus: “When birds landed on the feeder, they would be played a short sample of the desired song , and fed according to how well they imitated it. Over time, some birds would learn to sing the entire song. Moreover, if individual birds could be recognized, they could all be taught different parts of the same polyphonic composition
  • (De)Tour Guide: a device that uses GPS and an electronic compass to determine its location and heading. Its audio instructions would allow you to be surprised by what you discover when turning the corner.
  • Telegotchi, a version of the popular children’s toy with no buttons Starter sets might include physiological monitors such as GSR or heart-rate sensors to help you establish an initial rapport, but in the long run the goal would be to rely on psionic communication alone to keep the little virtual creature happy
  • Prayer Device: like a new sort of telephone booth the device would send prayers, wishes or entre satellites straight into the sky overhead in a tightly focused,high-powered transmission. You might believe your message would be heard by God, or by a passing UFO, or by nobody. In any case, it might be reassuring to know powerful technology was supporting you in your attempt to communicate beyond this world.

Crip Technoscience

  • Emerging area at intersection of STS and Critical Disability Studies
  • 2014: Aimi published “Cripping Feminist Technoscience”
  • 2014 – 2015: Aimi organized panels and a track at Society for Disability Studies meetings
  • 2016: Kelly organizes Technoscience Salon event
  • 2017 – Current: Publishing special issue in journal Catalyst
Portrait photo of Aimi Hamraie
Aimi Hamraie – Assistant professor at Vanderbilt University
Portrait photo of Kelly Fritsch
Kelly Fritsch – Assistant professor at Carleton University

Crip Technoscience Manifesto (1/8)

  • A call to action
  • A new area of thinking
  • Challenges where technological change and scientific knowledge comes from
  • Defined by 7 key points:

  • Crip technoscience is a polemic against imperatives for cure and normalization
  • Crip technoscience centers affiliation and interdependence
  • Crip technoscience aspires towards accessible futures
  • Crip technoscience elevates disabled ways of knowing as design expertise
  • Crip technoscience is activist technoscience, contested and politicized knowing making
  • Crip technoscience marks design as a “desiring process”
  • Crip technoscience agitates against empire, compulsory normalcy, militarization, and mandates for productivity

Crip Technoscience Manifesto (2/8)

  • Crip technoscience is a polemic against imperatives for cure and normalization
    • Medical vs Social model
    • Technology is often problematic, not a miracle cure

Crip Technoscience Manifesto (3/8)

  • Crip technoscience centers affiliation and interdependence
    • Lots of effort put into fit between people and technology, but
    • Interaction with other people just as important

Crip Technoscience Manifesto (4/8)

  • Crip technoscience aspires towards accessible futures
    • How do we move the problem from the individual to society?
    • Long and difficult political process

Crip Technoscience Manifesto (5/8)

  • Crip technoscience elevates disabled ways of knowing as design expertise
    • There is a wealth of design knowledge from disabled people and their lived experiences

Crip Technoscience Manifesto (6/8)

  • Crip technoscience is activist technoscience, contested and politicized knowing making
    • Design is a political statement

Crip Technoscience Manifesto (7/8)

  • Crip technoscience marks design as a “desiring process”
    • Practice of “desiring disability differently”
    • Doesn’t seek to overcome disability, but also doesn’t celebrate differences for the sake of difference

Crip Technoscience Manifesto (8/8)

  • Crip technoscience agitates against empire, compulsory normalcy, militarization, and mandates for productivity
    • “Bodies need not be perceived as productive, legible, articulate, or beautiful.”

References

Harrison, Steve, Deborah Tatar, and Phoebe Sengers. “The three paradigms of HCI.” Alt. Chi. Session at the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems San Jose, California, USA. 2007.

Binder, Thomas, Jonas Löwgren, and Lone Malmborg, eds. (Re) Searching The Digital Bauhaus. Springer Science & Business Media, 2008.

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