Understanding Deafhood: In Search of its Meanings

Annelies Kusters, Maartje De Meulder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authorsargue that Deafhood (a term coined by Dr. Paddy Ladd)is an open-ended concept with an essentialist core. They describe how deaf people who have attended their Deafhood lectures and workshopshave perceived different aspects of the Deafhood concept, and comparethe basic tenets of Deafhood and criticisms on Deafhood to theories andcriticisms on feminist essentialisms. The authors find that the vaguenessand wideness of the Deafhood concept is one of its strengths, thoughthey also find that it is in some respects problematic to combine andunite ontology and liberation theory in one concept. They further sug-gest that the ontological aspects of Deafhood need to be foregrounded.The question of essentialism inherent in the Deafhood concept is alsobriefly discussed with regard to hearing people, the use of spoken lan-guage, and the use of amplification technology and cochlear implants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-438
JournalAmerican Annals of the Deaf
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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