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Social Constructions of Deafness

Examining Deaf Languacultures in Education

Thomas P. Horejes

Publication Year: 2012

Thomas P. Horejes’s new book focuses on revealing critical knowledge that addresses certain social justice issues, including deafness, language, culture, and deaf education. He conveys this information through discourses about his own experiences being deaf and through his research in which he “stresses the contingency of the social” in educational institutions. In Social Constructions of Deafness: Examining Deaf Languacultures in Education, Horejes contends that schools as social institutions play powerful and exacting roles in the creation and maintenance of social constructions such as language and culture for deaf children. He subscribes to Michael Agar’s concept of “languaculture,” defined as the inextricable relationship between language and culture in which a specific language will shape and influence culture. His approach employs other anthropological methodology as he connects his personal experiences as a deaf student (emic) to academic research on deafness (etic) to bring understanding to the multidimensional aspects of his own negotiated identities. Horejes extends his inquiry through his analysis of two kindergarten classes for deaf students, one orally oriented and the other conducted using sign language. His findings are sobering evidence of the myriad challenges educators face in defining appropriate academic, linguistic, and cultural pedagogy for deaf children in schools and other social institutions.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press


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pp. viii

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pp. ix-xii

Ideas and definitions of deafness are complicated and deeply contested, including the constraints over what ought to be socially constructed as normal, especially for a child. Social institutions such as schools play powerful and exacting...

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pp. 1-16

The journeys that I have made throughout my life are unique in some ways, but as I meet and read more about other deaf1 people, I have found that many of our journeys have intersected at one point or another. Including me, more than 95% of deaf children are born to hearing parents Kluwin...

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Chapter 1 My Journey

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pp. 17-53

This chapter addresses the ethical inquiry of where I am, epistemological inquiries of who I am, and the types of social constructions that permeate my deafness and my identity(ies) (Lankshear & McLaren, 1993). The quote, “I a...

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Chapter 2 Social Constructions

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pp. 54-84

If you ask any American to describe men, you are likely to get responses such as “masculine, strong, athletic, aggressive, breadwinner” as descriptions of the “normal” male. But if you add the word gay to the question, you are likely..

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Chapter 3 Archaeology of Deaf Education and Languaculture

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pp. 85-114

Deaf children at an early age might be unconcerned with languaculture, social representations, social constructions, politics, and ideology. However, they are developing members under ideological state apparatuses such as schools...

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Chapter 4 A "Tale" of Two Classrooms

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pp. 115-152

There is an extensive body of research and literature on deaf education, its pedagogies, “best practices,” and “promises” toward a “better” education for the deaf, as documented in the previous chapter, but rarely are these...

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Chapter 5 Constructions of Deaf Languacultures

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pp. 153-181

My narrative descriptions of two diverse classrooms in the previous chapter show diverse pedagogies of languaculture that may have possible implications for the students’ acculturation/enculturation. Also, the narrative suggests...

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Chapter 6 Coming Full Circle

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pp. 182-215

This book started out with my emic journey to examine my deaf identity and its meanings in the social world as a critical contribution to the research on deafness. Languaculture was introduced as a gravitating theme to indicate the ways..

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pp. 216-225

What do you see when you imagine an individual who has been labeled as disabled? Do you imagine the hegemonic façade of someone begging for help with their cap in their hand or is the image of someone such as the theoretical physicist..

Appendix A

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pp. 226-248


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pp. 249-282


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pp. 283-295

E-ISBN-13: 9781563685422
E-ISBN-10: 1563685426
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563685415
Print-ISBN-10: 1563685418

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 20 photos
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Deaf -- Education.
  • Deaf -- Social conditions.
  • Deaf culture.
  • Language and culture.
  • Mackey, Alison, ǂe editor of compilation.
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