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At Home Among Strangers

Exploring the Deaf Community in the United States

Jerome D. Schein

Publication Year: 1989

At Home Among Strangers is the first comprehensive sociological exploration of the Deaf community in the United States. This engrossing book captures the shared experience of the Deaf community in all of its dimensions through the precise observations of Jerome D. Schein. In nine thought-provoking chapters, he creates a fully realized image of the ramifications of being deaf and the growth of the Deaf community. From its vivid description of American Sign Language to the richly hued tapestry of Deaf culture, from Deaf people's organizational strengths to their exasperation in dealing with hearing medical, educational, and legal professions, this book presents a compelling study of a vibrant, active community. Most importantly, for the first time a theory of why the Deaf community exists is offered, using a wealth of detail to convey the dilemmas facing Deaf people and well-founded predictions for the future. At Home Among Strangers is an indsipensable book for scholars, teachers, and students alike, a standard in Deaf studies.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v

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pp. vii-x

When they become mindful of my career, people sometimes ask how I became interested in deafness. They seem to expect an account of some personal involvement with Deaf people-relatives or friends. But my answer does not meet these expectations. I grew up knowing nothing about deafness, let alone about Deaf...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 3-22

The coincidence amazed me. I was reading Harlan Lane's When the Mind Hears and was struck by a passage written over one hundred years ago by a young deaf man raised apart from other deaf people. He heard about the Hartford Asylum, a new school for deaf children, and arranged to visit it accompanied by his normally hearing older brother, Charles...

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2. Deaf Culture

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pp. 23-71

Human infants enter the world defenseless. To survive, someone must feed them, give them shelter, and protect them from the elements. Compared to other animals, they mature slowly, and as they mature, they require instructions on appropriate behaviors that enable them to fit into society. How they are succored, what they are...

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3. Structural Underpinnings of the Deaf Community

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pp. 72-105

The Deaf community is highly organized. A Deaf person desiring to affiliate with other Deaf people can choose from among 14 national, 179 state and regional, and several hundred local organizations. Wherever Deaf people gather, they form groups with other Deaf people. In the size and diversity of organizations Deaf people have...

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4. Family Life

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pp. 106-134

Most deaf children have hearing parents. When they grow up, they marry deaf spouses. When these deaf couples have children, those children most often will have normal hearing. These three facts dominate any discussion of family life in the Deaf community. Their rates of occurrence appear so regularly in the research literature...

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5. Education and Rehabilitation

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pp. 135-159

Scientists have estimated that only a third or less of the average child's knowledge comes from the classroom. The remainder derives from incidental learning-from radio, television, overhearing conversations, talking with others. Deaf children, however, are cut off from some or all of those sources of information. Until they can...

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6. Economic Life

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pp. 160-180

Deafness respects neither wealth nor social position. The raw facts of economic life intrude on the Deaf community as on any social group. Being Deaf provides no benefit, proves no asset, does not assist in the day-to-day business of earning a living and managing what goods are obtained from economic activities. To the contrary,...

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7. Medical, Legal, and Interpreting Services

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pp. 181-196

Another perspective on the Deaf experience can be gained from an examination of three services-medical, legal, and interpreting. The treatment that Deaf people receive from those who provide these services illustrates further the relations between the Deaf and general communities...

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8. A Theory of Deaf Community Development

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pp. 197-220

Whether the Deaf community is regarded as a linguistic, ethnic, social, or other community, it clearly exists. That leaves the task of explaining why. Because the Deaf community plays so large a role in the lives of almost half a million Deaf citizens of this country, delving into the factors that have led to and shaped its development...

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9. The Theory at Work

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pp. 221-236

It is time to put the theory to work-to make predictions about the future. That, after all, is the raison d'etre of a theory. It must expand our knowledge by anticipating the outcomes of future events. In so doing, a useful theory generates research by suggesting otherwise unexpected relations and stimulating efforts to alter circumstances...


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pp. 237-250


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pp. 251-254

E-ISBN-13: 9781563681646
E-ISBN-10: 1563681641
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563681417
Print-ISBN-10: 1563681412

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 1989