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Deaf-hearing family life: Three mothers’ poetic voices of resistance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732 - 740
JournalQualitative Inquiry
DatePublished - Oct 2011


This article brings together poetic narratives of three women – two hearing and one deaf – who are mothers to both deaf and hearing children. When asked, “What’s the story of your family?” they each uncovered, discovered and recovered narratives which embrace politics, spirituality, marginalisation, ignorance, resistance, love, care and celebration. Their stories, signed, spoken and written, deconstruct and reconstruct intimate and poignant experiences of negotiation between deaf and hearing worlds, between Sign and Word, between acceptance and judgement, and in particular in response to a particular piece of government legislation. In the UK, monocultural, multigenerational deaf families are the exception rather than the rule; therefore questions of cultural knowledge transmission, reproduction and survival are endlessly troubled, contested and reclaimed in bicultural, bilingual deaf-hearing families, particularly in the face of dominant, mainstream discourses of disability and normalisation. The three women’s narratives repair and bear witness to misunderstood and marginalised deaf and hearing lives. As Sign Language has no written form, the stories are re-presented here as poetic texts as a way not only to bridge the gap between ‘oral’ narrative and the written (translated) word but also to bring to life on the page the inherent poetry of their resistance stories.

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Publisher: Sage



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