Introduction to The Politics of Deafness, continued
I will explore a series of perspectives on d/Deaf identity, each of which seeks "to disclose the operation of power in places in which the familiar social, administrative, and political discourses tend to disguise or naturalize it. (2) There is a particular politics here; a dimension of politics, which I will try to enact throughout this text, adheres in my writing. The tactics of this ethnography are primarily those of irony and displacement. My intention is a disruptive one, disruptive of both presumptions and practices that derive from and descend upon deaf bodies. This disruptive intent requires me to shift the frame or perspective from place to place in this work. Each of the chapters that follow both represents and contains such disruptive shifts. These shifts, in part, show that there is no one interpretive frame; instead, there is a politics of interpretation that needs to be made more visible. While certain questions about identities available and acceptable will remain constant, no single interpretation yielding fixed answers is possible. My purpose is to explore inherent ironies invested in Hearing practices that administrate social identities for deaf children, as well as those identities available to deaf adults, and to provide distance from those normalizing frames that have tended to fix both common and professional perspectives about deafness and those who are deaf.

The perception of Whiteness, so long naturalized in Western political theory as to mark the only race that rarely needs to be named, is not unlike the recognition of Hearing as a social category that is not all-inclusive, that is other than simply "normal." Such recognition comes slowly and remains at a high cost to those named as Other-than-Hearing. The names assigned to the Other-than-Hearing include "mute," "deaf-mute," "hearing impaired," a range of other politically correct euphemisms, and the one that is preferred by most of those who identify themselves as such: "Deaf." A further discussion of the distinct significations of such labels follows in chapter 1.

The Politics of Deafness deploys a range of disruptive views of these distinctions and of why such differences may matter. I will not spend great effort on reproducing the homeboy epistemology of "educational rehabilitation" experts on the deaf. Suffice it to say that the traditional view of deaf people and of deafness is of an existence contained within boundaries clearly understood as "less than normal." As outsiders whose language options are determined by Hearing cultures, these people are damaged goods, not normal, to be administrated under various rationalizing concepts from infancy into oblivion. Edward T. Hall (1992) refers to this perspective as a "deficit" model.

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