Assimilating and Differentiating Societies

Harlan Lane, Richard C. Pillard and Ulf Hedberg

in The People of the Eye

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199759293
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199863372 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives on Deafness

Assimilating and Differentiating Societies

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The story of Thomas BrownD and the emergence of the first American organizations of Deaf people that he led can be seen as the story of emerging Deaf ethnic consciousness, which surfaced clearly in mid-nineteenth century. This chapter contrasts the very different Deaf enclaves in Henniker and on the Vineyard. It hypothesizes that the differences between these communities in language barriers and marriage practices are due to differences in genetic transmission of the Deaf trait—recessive (Vineyard) vs. dominant (Henniker)—and those differences give rise, in turn, to differences in ethnic consciousness. With recessive transmission there are many hearing people in families with Deaf members; with dominant transmission, at least one parent is Deaf, and fully half of all their children are Deaf in every generation. Findings concerning a village in Bali help to evaluate the claim that Deaf genetic patterning, marriage and language practices, and ethnic consciousness are related.

Keywords: genetic patterning; marriage practices; language practices; ethnic consciousness; recessive; dominant; Bali

Chapter.  6232 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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