Generative Fusions: Integrating Technical and Professional Communication, Disability Studies, and Legal Studies in the Work of Disability Inclusion and Access

Kristin Bennett, Mark Hannah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Building on scholarship and practices in the fields of technical and professional communication (TPC), disability studies (DS), and legal studies (LS), this article calls for a fusion of these fields to help technical and professional communicators (TPCers) negotiate legal understandings of access that recognize it as a complex, social phenomenon. About the case: To demonstrate such fusion's value in interrogating corporate discourse around disability inclusion and access, we examine the public-facing documents in JP Morgan Chase & Company's (JP Morgan) diversity and inclusion initiatives. Situating the case: Prior cases have traced the impacts of ADA law in transforming corporate culture around disability inclusion and access. These cases suggest that although the ADA has made significant progress toward inclusion and access for disabled employees, it has been limited through the influence of normative corporate culture. We thus extend these findings through DS. Methods/approach: We use thematic coding to analyze a sampling of JP Morgan's disability and inclusion documents to better understand their contributions to disability discourse. Results/discussion: We identify tensions across four discursive expressions, which we recognize both as opportunity spaces for TPCer intervention and as justification for integrating TPC, DS, and LS. We then offer guidelines for more equitable documentation practices. Conclusions: Through the fusion of TPC, DS, and LS, TPCers may engage more nuanced understandings of disability and access that support the dynamic and relational nature of each.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9509583
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
Volume64
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Access
  • disability studies (DS)
  • legal studies (LS)
  • technical and professional communication (TPC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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