Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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Living in the world as a Deaf person provides a different situatedness in which deaf individuals construct their identity. How does living in the world, different from the hearing majority, influence the ways deaf individuals go about the creative act of constructing identities? Traditionally, researchers of D/deafness have constructed identity categories in order to research identity and hearing loss. For example, there is a distinction made in the literature between deafness (written with a lower case ‘d’) — an audiological state related to having a hearing loss — and Deafness (written with an upper case ‘D’) — a marker of a culturally Deaf identity. This article is about how three women constructed narrative identities relating to hearing loss in life stories. And how they incorporated, resisted, and/or rejected various cultural discourses in narratives they told? Using a poststructural narrative analysis, I explore how identities relating to hearing status were shaped and limited by four discourses at work in the participants’ narrative tellings (discourses of normalcy, discourses of difference, discourses of passing, and Deaf cultural discourses). For example, I discuss how discourses of normalcy and discourses of difference led to the construction of identities based on opposites, in a binary relationship where one side of the binary was privileged and the opposite was “othered”, e.g., hearing/deaf, and Deaf/deaf. Finally, drawing on the work of Judith Butler, I conclude the article with a discussion of some theoretical implications that emerged from using a poststructural narrative analysis.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Butler; Deaf identity; Deafness; Narrative identity; Social constructionism
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