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.