“Opportunity Blocked”: Deaf People, Employment and the Sociology of Audism

Autor/a: O'CONNELL, Noel
Año: 2021
Editorial: Humanity & Society, 46(2), 336–358.
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Medios de comunicación y acceso a la información » Aspectos laborales


Although many studies have examined deaf people’s lived experiences of audism in various contexts, relatively little research has examined such experiences in the area of employment, particularly in Ireland. There is, therefore, a dearth of research focusing on the underlying causes of the employment discrimination which deaf people continue to experience. The term “audism” has been widely used in deaf studies literature to describe a set of assumptions that promote the unequal treatment of individuals on the basis of hearing (dis)ability. In this study, I use qualitative analysis of interviews with eight deaf adults to examine the impact of audism on the lived experience of employment discrimination. My main objective was to examine the effects and causes of discrimination which prevent access to employment opportunities. The findings indicate that the three levels of audism—individual, institutional and internalized—had the effect of creating blocks and barriers to employment opportunities for deaf people. The results also point to stigma, stereotyping and prejudice as underlying causes of discrimination. The study concludes by discussing the implications of the results for conceptualizations of discriminatory behaviors on the part of employers.