Deaf-led Deaf Studies: Using Kaupapa Maori Principles to Guide Development of Deaf Research Practices

Autor/a: O'BRIEN, Dai
Año: 2015
Editorial: VII Deaf Academics Researchers Conference, 2015
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Vídeo digital


Comunidad y cultura sorda


This paper will examine the potential for creating a truly Deaf led Deaf studies field, borrowing from the concept of kaupapa Maori research from New Zealand. It will look at the possibilities of creating a research framework rooted in the epistemologies and ontologies of the Deaf community. The rationale for this approach is to move away from the hearing-led roots of Deaf studies to explore a vision of what Deaf studies could be if it focused on the beliefs, traditions and cultures of Deaf communities and to explore ways in which to ensure that Deaf studies can be held accountable to the Deaf communities they work with. While progress has been made along these lines, for example Ladd’s Deafhood model, exploration of the practical application of these concepts is needed.

Kaupapa Maori research follows principles that are rooted in the Maori culture, community and way of life. It has been developed in response to centuries of being ‘researched on’ and ‘researched by’ Pakeha (white) colonisers, and the requirement by the academy for Maori led research to follow the academic practices and frameworks of Pakeha academia. This is a similar situation to which many Deaf academics find themselves, fitting into the hearing priorities and languages of mainstream academia which does not recognise Deaf community values. In contrast, kaupapa Maori research holds dear all the principles of collective communities, which parallels the fact that Deaf communities around the world and internationally are collectivist in nature. It is also a truly community-constructed theory. While it borrows some concepts from Western philosophy and traditions of social research, it is solely of Maori creation and stands alone as a self-sufficient framework. We do not suggest lifting the kaupapa Maori framework wholesale, but using it as inspiration to develop our own research frameworks rooted in the Deaf community.

This paper will present initial findings from a full-day workshop held with leading figures in the UK Deaf community, figures with backgrounds in both academia and community leadership. The purpose of this workshop was to explore the possibility of creating a community consultation forum to create a research framework similar to that of kaupapa Maori, rooted in the culture and community of Deaf people. Participants were selected using a combination of purposive and snowball sampling through a combination of face to face and email contact. Their range of backgrounds and experiences allowed them to bring different perspectives to the discussion. Results of this discussion will be presented here for dissemination and feedback from an international forum, and future steps in this process will be discussed.