This project, linked to the Research Center on Intermiditic Connections (Núcleo de Pesquisa em Conexões Intermidiáticas – NucCon) / Center for Convergence of New Media (Centro de Convergência de Novas Mídias – CCNM / UFMG), aims to expand theoretical and methodological aspects for the analysis of profiles of ordinary people, in the expression of Michel de Certeau (1998), in online social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, aimed at spreading respect for disability and against prejudice. Our goal is to understand the specificities of communicational dynamics that, paradoxically, give visibility to people with disabilities and, simultaneously, reinforce pejorative imaginary. By means of an empirical clipping, we intend to respect the singularities of what we call the sensible corpus, that is, a set of research materials capable of arousing different feelings depending on the subjects that compose it, of the fragility or social vulnerability, of the difficulty to obtain data, ethical dilemmas and institutional reactions that may arise. The research procedures to be consolidated, through online ethnography, were developed in our doctoral thesis entitled “Aesthetics of difference: contributions to the study of disability and digital social networks as devices of mise en scène”. We intend to identify, describe and analyze the communicational dynamics and the discursive characteristics of profiles about people with disabilities. We hope that the research in question may help to some extent to highlight the importance of social networks in understanding the social interactions that extrapolate the private sphere, an increasingly frequent phenomenon in society. It is possible that it will offer a contribution to the expansion of theoretical knowledge about social networks and the discourse on disability, which is in an incipient stage in the Brazilian academic community. Thinking with Santos & Lorent, we believe that the university has an important political role and is a scenario that allows us to problematize and discuss the difference (SANTOS & LORENT, 2012), whether in its affirmative actions or through research projects. How do the communicative experiences of ordinary people in online social networks contribute to the discursive tensions of respect and, paradoxically, of prejudice, about people with disabilities? The individualized efforts of people with disabilities, living with social invisibility, would make themselves and others imaginary, making disability itself and online social networks the protagonists of narratives that move between profiles of diverse socio-political movements. From a theoretical point of view, we will deepen our knowledge about online social networks and disability, which is in an incipient stage in the Brazilian academy. To this end, we assume the social model of disability, proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO), which considers their singularities, not their pathologies. Online social networks are considered in our research as well as a mere source of data from which a corpus is collected. For this reason, we have registered that the ethnographic-inspired research brings us the possibility of deepening both the research methodology itself and the communicational issues related to disability, which have not yet been uncovered. We understand that theory and our empirical research are intertwined, without boundaries, which points us to theoretical and methodological assumptions that constitute themselves. We believe we respect, to a certain extent, the motto used in the struggle for the rights of people with disabilities, that is, “nothing without us for us”.

Coordination: Sônia Caldas Pessoa

Members: Lívia Gomes Laudares – (Fapemig Scholarship of Scientific Research)