Empowering images or preserved stereotypes: Representations of disability in contemporary film comedies1 | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 4, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2042-7891
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7905



Historically, disability in comedy has taken the form of joking at the expense of disabled persons. In modern times, it is first and foremost through media that the public is exposed to representations of disability, and media is considered society’s most far-reaching (re)producer of cultural values. This degrading ridicule in combination with the pervasiveness of media has made disability and humour a controversial combination. Through discourse analysis this article analyses three contemporary mainstream cinema comedies about disability with the overall aim to contribute to enhanced knowledge of how different articulations promote or challenge hegemonic presumptions about disability. The analysis shows that empowering images and stereotypes of disability exist simultaneously as competing discourses in media representations. The conclusion is that aware decisions about how to represent disability are indispensable for film-makers due to the major role of media in forming public perceptions.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): cinema; comedy; disability; discourse theory; humour; media
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