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Accounting for and (re)visiting special needs and “deaf bilingualism”: The identity of language and the language of identity
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (CCD)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1846-858X
2015 (English)In: Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, ISSN 2040-3658, E-ISSN 2040-3666Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Abstract [en]

My interest in this paper is twofold: first, to make visible the work that participants and institutions do through analyses of naturally occurring communication, including policy texts over time. Second, by using a range of representational techniques, illustrate how multimodal analyses across time and space allows for revisiting the ways in which language categories get talked-and-written-into-being and how identity positions become framed in and through social practices. This data-driven contribution takes both a socially oriented perspective and a postcolonial framework on human ways-with-words and human ways-of-being. It is based upon analyses of ethnographically framed video-recordings of mundane activities, naturally occurring or data-prompted discussions and policy texts vis-à-vis different institutional settings in Sweden where Swedish Sign Language, SSL is used in addition to Swedish and English.

My previous studies in a range of settings inside and outside schools across time in Sweden have highlighted the need for “Going beyond the great divide” (Bagga-Gupta 2004, 2007) in both research and education for students with hearing impairment. This divide points to the highly dichotomized state of deaf research, institutional fields and discussions therein vis-à-vis oralism-signing, integration-segregation, normality-disability, medical/psychological-cultural, monolingualism-bilingualism etc. Transcending these dichotomies (and the concomitant normative positions that they are tagged with), I juxtapose ethnographic data from primarily two areas brought together under the umbrella concepts “languaging” and “diversity/identity” research with the intention of exploring how special needs are accounted for through the systematic analysis of data-sets from two large scale Swedish national research projects where fieldwork was conducted in deaf schools since 1996. Data includes video-taped classroom life in signing environments, video-data prompted oral reflections and policy data including discussions during the 1990s that lead to the establishment of some of these projects.

Analysis focuses upon exploring the ways in which individuals and institutions account for the special needs of pupils with a functional disability. What are the ways in which language use in itself frames identity positions in different sites (and across time)? How do micro-interactional analysis and the use of time and space in institutional settings inform issues related to inclusion/exclusion? What is the status that is accorded different language varieties in these settings and how does this status frame accounting practices related to special needs?

The preliminary findings in this study challenge current understandings attributed to identity and language generally and the organization of (segregated) education for the deaf in Sweden more specifically. Issues are also raised with regards to the ways in which individuals and both SSL and Swedish become “technified”. This paper presents evidence that questions the polarized positions between linguistic-medical, signed-spoken/written language varieties, mono-bilingualism and deaf-hearing worlds. The analysis contributes to the growing research literature where detailed analyses of textual discourses and signing-oral-written interaction can both provide an emic understanding of how narratives and accounting are a core aspect of the negotiationof identity positions as well as illustrate the Third Position in the area of special needs.

________________________________

Bagga-Gupta, S (2007): Going beyond the Great Divide. Reflections from Deaf Studies, Örebro, Sweden. Deaf Worlds. International Journal of Deaf Studies. Special theme issue: The meaning and place of “Deaf Studies”. 23(2 & 3), 69-87.

Bagga-Gupta, S (2004): Visually oriented bilingualism. Discursive and technological resources in Swedish Deaf pedagogical arenas. In V Herreweghe & M Vermeerbergen (eds) To the Lexicon and Beyond. Sociolinguistics in European Deaf Communities, Volume 10 – The Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities Series. Editor C Lucas. pp 171-207. Washington DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
Sociocultural perspective, decolonialism, multidisciplinary, multilingualism, multimodality, ethnography, languaging, ways-of-being-with-words, chaining, deaf, oral language bias, monolingual bias
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-38537OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-38537DiVA: diva2:762635
Projects
SS projekt; LISA-21 projekt; RGD projekt
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Note

Special issue: “Processing the case: storytelling and moral work in professional discursive practices”. Eds. Isabella Paoletti & Elisabeth Cedersund.

Available from: 2014-11-12 Created: 2014-11-12 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta

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