Deaf people and career advice: Applying structuration theory to encounters between deaf and hearing people

Kendall, Norma (2006) Deaf people and career advice: Applying structuration theory to encounters between deaf and hearing people. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The research concerns communication between deaf people and hearing advisers in career or job seeking interviews. Issues of disability, emancipatory research and methods used in deaf research are explored together with the medical and social models of disability and the complexity of discrimination. It is set to a background of the history of deaf people and the inherent disadvantages of communication and language, education and knowledge, identity and perceptions of deafness. It
summarises the experiences of deaf people in and seeking employment and the skills required in job seeking. Communication between lay people and professionals and between deaf people and professionals is reviewed and the various systems of influence on deaf people are appraised together with the potential impact on employment guidance.
An evolutionary approach to the research is recounted and the data engendered information on three areas; the opinions and experience each participant brought to the career or job seeking interview, the perceptions each party had of the interview interaction and the macro influence of Government. Giddensian Structuration Theory is considered within other theoretical frameworks and a critical reflection offered before concluding that the theory is a useful tool to illuminate aspects of deafness.
The key concepts are described and related to deaf issues. The findings highlight the professionalism of advisory staff and their willingness to embrace a deaf perspective in practice. However the data also emphasises a stark contrast between the protected environments of school and college and the mainstream environment of job-centres. Mainstream deaf participants reported barriers to communication and much dissatisfaction with the education they had received, particularly the oral and mainstream approach.
The data is discussed using structuration concepts and the thesis concludes by proposing an extension to the general notion of distanciation, which I have called `experiential distanciation', to reflect the special linguistic circumstances of deaf

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