At Home Among Strangers
Exploring the Deaf Community in the United States
Publication Year: 1989
Published by: Gallaudet University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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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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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...
2. Deaf Culture
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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...
3. Structural Underpinnings of the Deaf Community
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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...
4. Family Life
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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...
5. Education and Rehabilitation
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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...
6. Economic Life
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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,...
7. Medical, Legal, and Interpreting Services
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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...
8. A Theory of Deaf Community Development
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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...
9. The Theory at Work
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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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Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 1989