A sociocultural understanding of deafness: American sign language and the culture of deaf people

Autor/a: REAGAN, Timothy
Año: 1995
Editorial: International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Nº 19 (1995) PP. 239–251.
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Comunidad y cultura sorda, Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


This article provides an exploration of the culture of Deaf people in the United States and anglophone Canada, with special emphasis on the role of American Sign Language (ASL) in the maintenance and propagation of that culture. It begins with a discussion of two competing perspectives on deafness in contemporary society: the pathologic perspective, in which deafness is seen as a medical condition requiring remediation of some sort, and the sociocultural perspective, which focuses on the Deaf as a cultural and linguistic minority group. The case for the view of the Deaf as a cultural and linguistic minority group is then presented, focusing on a number of the central cultural components of deafness, and on the related issues of paternalism in cultural identification. The role of ASL in supporting and facilitating each of the other components of Deaf culture is emphasized throughout the discussion. The article concludes with a discussion of the world view of culturally Deaf individuals, and the implications of this world view for a variety of issues of concern to Deaf people.