restricted access Chapter 3 Archaeology of Deaf Education and Languaculture
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85 C H A P T E R T H R E E ARCHAEOLOGY OF DEAF EDUCATION AND LANGUACULTURE 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, which are embedded with specific histories and cultures that will assist in constructing and organizing their life and its meanings (Althusser, 1970; Erting, 2003). Schools, as social institutions, often determine the status of children and the type of languaculture for the deaf child. This chapter supports Tim Reagan’s (2002) call for a need of an “archaeology of deafness” to locate the ways in which deafness is constructed, reconstructed, and maintained. Specifically, an archaeology of deaf education would reflect historical and philosophical notions of social constructions as a way to study the knowledge construction and reconstruction of deaf education, especially when discussing what it means to be deaf and, in essence, human. Such an archaeology creates important sites of knowledge construction for deaf children because schools are often among the first to introduce the deaf child to the world of languaculture, knowledge construction, and a view of their identity as a deaf person. Rather than present a history of deaf education that may be static and lead to linear interpretations of selected historical “facts” with little room for multiple perspectives, I offer an archaeology that reflects the socially constructed ideas that have become “factual.” It is these “facts” that require further digging (deconstruction) to uncover hidden knowledge and meanings that may provide ways to view the same “fact” differently and, in turn, enable different ways of thinking about the larger social implications. In a way, an archaeology may present only a version of history of deaf education as it implies more than one side to history. Two examples come to mind that show how Chapter_3.indd 85 Chapter_3.indd 85 12/6/2012 4:15:59 PM 12/6/2012 4:15:59 PM 86 CHAPTER 3 an analysis can capture the dangers of “history” and the importance of an “archaeology.” Michel Foucault’s (1975) analysis on a case study of Pierre Rivière and Charles Goodwin’s analysis of the video on the beating of Rodney King provide important alternative aspects of history. Pierre Rivière was accused of fatally beating three members of his family, but as soon as he defended his actions in the name of God and wrote his reasoning “all down as best” he could, his testimony was scrutinized by the medical and legal apparatus (Erevelles, 2002, 2005; Foucault, 1975). While the murders were “fact,” the reason behind them became socially negotiable; the very inherent meaning of reason was being debated. The medical view indicated that Rivière was a sick individual who ought to be viewed as a “monster.” Rivière’s own “reason” for murder was a result of “madness,” which should be left to be handled by medical experts. The legal view juxtaposed that he was a cold, calculated murderer and that his “reason” was justified by his testimony that outlined how some members of his family were “evil” and that he was consciously doing a higher moral good; thus, he should be handled by the legal system. Which position ought to be the most “legitimate” perspective on Pierre Rivière? Without an archaeological examination of Pierre’s case by means of a Foucaultian analysis, his case perhaps may not reveal the importance of the different “disciplines” claiming to write history about his “reasoning.” Instead, Foucault was able to use an archaeology of Rivière’s case to illustrate the power dynamics wherein certain authorities mediate information as being objective and factual. An archaeology allows the audience to see the power structure and the dangers of “experts” in redefining something inherent such as “reason.” This larger level of analysis becomes much larger than just the Rivière case; it now becomes an issue of regulating and maintaining the type of knowledge construction about reason and humanity. Charles Goodwin’s (1994) “Professional Vision” provides a brilliant comparative analysis of archaeologists in the field and “experts” in the courtroom, each using their unique professional vision to make sense of the same data by means of coding schemes. First, Goodwin compares several archaeologists using their own coding schemes to provide different information based on the same dataset (dirt). Using these coding schemes, archaeologists are able to draw their own conclusions about the texture, color, and even...


Subject Headings

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