Situating the socio‐economic position of Irish Deaf community in the equality framework

Autor/a: BOSCO CONAMA, John
Año: 2013
Editorial: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, nº 32, vol. 2 (2013) pp. 173-194
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


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Purpose - Deaf communities including the Irish one, often identify the status of their signed languages as one of the defining indicators of their social standings. Thus, social justice measures must be intertwined with the status of signed languages. The social justice issues for Deaf communities identified here are: access to media, recognition of signed languages and education. These issues are based on several research data and are described in brief. The purpose of this paper is to locate the situational position of Deaf communities in Ireland. Design/methodology/approach - To understand the way in which a more radical model of equality would work for the Irish Deaf community, the author discusses an equality framework developed by the Equality Studies Centre in University College Dublin, with the aim of advancing understanding of what equality of condition would mean for Deaf people in relation to the access to media, recognition of signed languages and education. Findings - The evidence from research and literature shows the serious disadvantaged position held by the Deaf communities in Ireland and other countries. The data presented alone show how both discrimination and disadvantages are largely due to negative perspectives on deafness. These negative perspectives are obviously influenced by historical, medical and religious factors. Originality/value - The article raises awareness of the implications of different levels of equality on the status of signed languages. These levels, by default, affect the socio-economic statuses of Deaf communities. It is obvious from this study that equality of condition is the best option for Deaf communities to achieve. This option demands a level of recognition and respect for signed languages, equal to that afforded to national and dominant languages. This would help to minimise the belief that signed languages are mere compensatory tools, which in turn, would create more egalitarian treatment for Deaf people who wished to pursue their main identity through the use of signed languages.