Television Representations of Disability in Flanders

Researcher(s) (CIMS)

Susan Vertoont

Supervisors (CIMS)

Sofie Van Bauwel


In 2009 Belgium ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In article 8, the Convention explicitly calls attention to media imagery, because international research has pointed out that disability is often marginalized, stigmatized and stereotyped in media representations. However, the way disability is being represented in Flanders, has almost never been studied before. This project aims to make a contribution to this scarcity on information by using a multi-method approach. A quantitative content analysis is used to measure how often, and in which manner, people with disabilities are represented during prime time television. This descriptive information serves as a contextual framework for two specific case-studies on disability representation: one fictional television program (Tytgat Chocolat) and one factual television program, both produced in Flanders. The two cases will be examined in depth by combining production, textual and reception analyses, in order to acquire multilayered insights on the politics of disability representation in Flanders.