Assistance - On the History of Assistive Ensembles

The category of assistive technologies is often discussed as a political category (Alper 2017), as they invoke connotations such as “in need of help” with respect to the respective users. At this meeting, the concept of assistance will be historically situated and questioned. The aim is to problematize the question of what meanings have been attributed to the concept of assistance in the context of dis/abilities in the history of digital media and what place the term takes in current debates about bodies with varying abilities.

The tensions between specific possibilities and barriers posed by digital assistance technologies will be the core issue of the meeting. Therefore, the interaction of discourses on assistive devices and practices with assistive devices will be considered from different perspectives and disciplines. We approach the topic based on empirical studies ranging from the history of computers to contemporary practices of augmentative communication via speech computers, and propose to discuss the significance of ensembles of assistive technologies. By exploring the interactions between different areas of life in which assistive technologies are developed and used in everyday practice, we hope to gain a broad understanding of the socio-political significance of assistance.

Read more

Back to top