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The deaf and bilingual person: the construction of the subjectivity of a deaf between two worlds and two languages

Grant number: 13/08485-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2013
Effective date (End): May 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Applied Linguistics
Principal Investigator:Sueli Salles Fidalgo
Grantee:Valéria da Silva Bezerra
Host Institution: Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (EFLCH). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Guarulhos. Guarulhos , SP, Brazil


The sociocultural perspective on Deafness sees is as a cultural difference. Strobel (2008) states that the postmodern theoreticians conceive culture as something that is plural inheritance received from the members of a certain social group by means of the teaching-learning process and by means of experience, affirming that every individual plays a fundamental role in constructing, expanding and modifying this culture. It is by the contact with a given culture that the individual constructs their identity (a subjectivity that is built within the collectivity in which the person is inserted). Culture is not an off-the-shelf product; it is rather something that is constructed by the people that use it, that are educated by the productions of its past members and modify (as are modified by) the present. From this perspective, the author defines the deaf culture as means by which the person can understand and deal with the world by using their visual perceptions. Within a deaf community, the deaf individual will build their subjectivity (their deaf identity) so as to recognize themselves as someone that belongs to a social environment that shares their views of the world, and more so, that interacts by using a common language that can be acquired naturally. Thus, the concepts of deaf community and hearing community, each with their own language and culture, though not necessarily dichotomically set or in conflict. Nonetheless, because they are a minority linguistic group, most deaf people who use Brazilian Sign Language have to live in two cultures (the deaf and the hearing cultures); they try to adapt to these cultures by trying to make some aspects of each of them dialogue. Therefore, the deaf needs to go to and from both cultures and languages. It is amidst both cultures and languages that they structure their individuality (Fernandes & Rios, 1998). This investigation aims at understanding how the identity of this bilingual deaf person is build; and therefore, aims at looking into the possibility of speaking of a bicultural dimension for the deaf. (AU)

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