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Goico: Exclusion & Inclusion in Deaf Youth in Peru
February 25 @ 9:00 am - 10:30 am
The Achievement of Exclusion and Inclusion in the Interactions of Deaf Youth in Peru
Assistant Project Scientist
Center for Language, Interaction, and Culture, UCLA
Language is a pervasive part of our everyday lives. Yet around the world, there are many deaf individuals who live without sustained access to the linguistic resources of a named language. These individuals have not been exposed to an existing sign language, and their deafness and the unavailability of hearing assistive technology precludes access to spoken language. The lives of these individuals are often imagined as being highly constrained, and they are typically described as “isolated” and having “no language.” In my research with deaf youth in Iquitos, Peru, I adopt an ethnographic and microanalytic approach to investigate the mutually constituting nature of language and social life in the face of such severe linguistic disparities.
In this presentation, I explore how deaf students, whose interactions are characterized by sensory asymmetries due to their deafness and communicative asymmetries due to their constrained access to language, form part of the peer groups in their hearing classrooms. The data for this presentation comes from extended fieldwork in the homes and schools of deaf youth in Iquitos, Peru from 2013-2015. Despite the deaf students being excluded from the academic content taught in the classroom, I find that they are engaged in the construction of the classroom social order. This is accomplished in moments of situated interaction using multimodal semiotic resources. Deaf students use their diverse resources to reinforce bonds of solidarity with hearing peers by explicit acts of exclusion targeting other classmates. In examining ways the classroom social order is achieved moment-by-moment, I illustrate how deaf youth who are constrained by both sensory and communicative asymmetries are able to accomplish complex social work.
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