Because of their deafness, deaf people have been marked as different and treated problematically by their hearing societies. Until 25 years ago, academic literature addressing deafness typically described deafness as pathology, focusing on cures or mitigation of the perceived handicap. In ethnographic accounts, interactions involving deaf people are sometimes presented as examples of how communities treat atypical members. Recently, studies of deafness have adopted more complex sociocultural perspectives, raising issues of community identity, formation and maintenance, and language ideology. Anthropological researchers have approached the study of d/Deaf communities from at least three useful angles. The first, focusing on the history of these communities, demonstrates that the current issues have roots in the past, including the central role of education in the creation and maintenance of communities. A second approach centers on emic perspectives, drawing on the voices of community members themselves and accounts of ethnographers. A third perspective studies linguistic issues and how particular linguistic issues involving deaf people articulate with those of their hearing societies.


      Carol Padden (1996a)


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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