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Disabiling Pedagogy

Power, Politics, and Deaf Education

Linda Komesaroff

Publication Year: 2008

Traditionally, deaf education has been treated as the domain of special educators who strive to overcome the difficulties associated with hearing loss. Recently, the sociocultural view of deafness has prompted research and academic study of Deaf culture, sign language linguistics, and bilingual education. Linda Komesaroff exposes the power of the entrenched dominant groups and their influence on the politics of educational policy and practice in Disabling Pedagogy: Power, Politics, and Deaf Education. Komesaroff suggests a reconstruction of deaf education based on educational and social theory. First, she establishes a deep and situated account of deaf education in Australia through interviews with teachers, Deaf leaders, parents, and other stakeholders. Komesaroff then documents a shift to bilingual education by one school community as part of her ethnographic study of language practices in deaf education. She also reports on the experiences of deaf students in teacher education. Her study provides an analytical account of legal cases and discrimination suits brought by deaf parents for lack of access to native sign language in the classroom. Komesaroff confronts the issue of cochlear implantation, locating it within the broader context of gene technology and bioethics, and advocates linguistic rights and self-determination for deaf people on the international level. Disabling Pedagogy concludes with a realistic assessment of the political challenge and the potential of the “Deaf Resurgence” movement to enfranchise deaf people in the politics of their own education.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press


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p. v

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p. vii

MY THANKS GO to Gallaudet University Press for the opportunity to publish my first books on deafness (see also Komesaroff 2007) and to Deakin University’s Faculty of Education for providing both the intellectual space in which to pursue my passion for linguistic rights and the encouragement to do so. ...

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pp. ix-xiii

THE MAJOR TOPIC of this book is the critical analysis of pedagogy in deaf education and other issues related to deafness, such as cochlear implantation. The effects of language policy and practices, as well as medical intervention, that disempower Deaf people are discussed.1 In addition,...

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1. Power, Politics, and Education

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pp. 1-10

ALTHOUGH A CENTRAL THEME of this book is the politics of language practices in deaf education, in my discussion I look beyond the issue of access to education to an analysis of the group and power relations that exist between Deaf and hearing people in schools, universities, and...

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2. Politically Active Research

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pp. 11-38

THE THEMES OF POWER, politics, and the struggle for self-determination among Deaf people thread through this book. Despite recognition of the linguistic legitimacy of Auslan in the late 1980s, the language and culture of Deaf people are still routinely denied to most deaf children ...

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3. Curriculum of the Hearing University

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pp. 39-50

LEGAL REFORM IN THE 1990S led Australian universities to establish policies of equal opportunity and consider issues of diversity within their staff and student populations. Legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act (Commonwealth of Australia 1992) sought to protect...

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4. Bilingual Education

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pp. 51-75

IN THE ANTITHESIS to curricular fundamentalism, bilingual educators reject the “curriculum of the hearing”—a take on Ball’s (1993) “curriculum of the dead”—and exploit, rather than ignore, the cultural capital and linguistic resources that Deaf students and teachers bring to the classroom...

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5. Parents Take Their Fight to the Courts

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pp. 76-104

SINCE THE 1990s a small but growing number of deaf children have had access to bilingual programs in most states of Australia. These programs have continued to exist within a system that predominantly integrates deaf children into regular schools and instructs them by means...

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6. Linguistic Rights and Self-Determination

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pp. 105-120

THE CONVENTIONS OF THE United Nations provide guiding principles for the countries of the world. In 1924 the League of Nations adopted the firrst Declaration of the Rights of the Child (the Geneva Declaration), an international instrument that recognized the “vulnerable nature...

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7. Conclusion

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pp. 115-120

BECAUSE LANGUAGE EXISTS WITHIN a sociocultural context, it is therefore political and bound up with issues of power. For linguistic minorities, the concern is not only how language is used in education but also which language is used in the classroom. Schools are powerful institutions...


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pp. 121-132


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pp. 133-154

E-ISBN-13: 9781563684067
E-ISBN-10: 1563684063
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563683619
Print-ISBN-10: 156368361X

Page Count: 154
Publication Year: 2008

OCLC Number: 604171447
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Disabiling Pedagogy

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Subject Headings

  • Deaf -- Education -- Australia.
  • Deaf -- Australia.
  • Deaf -- Australia -- Social conditions.
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