Kusters, “Deaf Sociality and the Deaf Lutheran Church”

Kusters, Annelies.  2014.  “Deaf Sociality and the Deaf Lutheran Church in Adamorobe, Ghana.” Sign Language Studies 14(4): 466-487.

Abstract: This article provides an ethnographic analysis of “deaf sociality” in Adamorobe, a village in Ghana, where the relatively high prevalence of hereditary deafness has led to dense social and spatial connections. Deaf people are part of their hearing environment particularly through family networks, and produce deaf sociality through many informal interactive practices which take place in “deaf spaces”. In this context, efforts by the Deaf Lutheran Church to institute deaf-only signed worship services and (development) projects have been unsuccessful. Deaf community members are a priori socialized into practices of deaf sociality through deaf spaces and see little or no need for this set of practices which bring them few benefits. Furthermore, collective structuring, social security, social work, interpreting and leadership rather happen in the context of lineages and extended families—where sign language is used—rather than in deaf-based support networks.