The definition of disability is changing according to times, medical advances and cultural. With the 2005 law, what about in the light of deafness?

Disability is a moving concept: to catch it, understand it, one must look at the history of knowledge, philosophical and medical developments. Some disabilities regarded as such there are tens of years are no longer present (the freckles, for example). The use of the term depends as much on the time that the country and culture where it emerges. Ideally, we should differentiate the disease (medical cause), impairment (body dysfunction and impact on the capacity) and disability (earnings). Being a woman can be a handicap in certain situations. Deafness does not necessarily result from a disease but is well disabilities (hearing ability is impaired), and a disability (the difference against the standard creates integration problems).

Redefinition of cultural groups

These days, social cues fade: dress codes depending on the social level are less present, the meeting places are further apart. The middle classes have been weakened by the financial crisis. Individuals must redefine their social and cultural identity. This phenomenon is facilitated by the rejection of difference. Disability is therefore a very strong social dimension. Deafness is a significant difference in the communication and apprehension of the world. Emerges a particular culture, unique to this community. So there Deaf with a capital S, which claim to belong to a cultural group. They differ from deaf, medical name for people with hearing loss.


Disability and identity

This is why deafness is a special place in sensory impairments labeled as “disabled”. Deafness is the only people with disabilities which meet around a communication system, a living language and therefore, a culture. Where is the handicap in these conditions? Bernard Mottez, sociologist, has fought all his life to defend his thesis: the disability arises about the relationship of communication and not on the deaf person. In other words, the hearing person is disabled as much as the person who is deaf herself. Alone, it is not disabled. In addition, sign language enables communication quality between rich and signers people (practicing sign language). The 2005 Act also goes in the direction of an opening towards full integration.

Name of “disabled” and Consequences

But in actual fact, the Deaf are invisible in today’s society. Their particularity and identity are unknown or denied. There is indeed a handicap in the sense that the deaf person has to fight to be integrated. The education of deaf children do not go without saying, the unemployment rate of deaf adults is impressive: 30% of profoundly deaf are active job seekers, not counting those who are not registered at employment center. Because the difficulty of access for deaf individuals affects both the cultural system or health, employment assistance, financial support . The loneliness of some Deaf and the lack of information are the cause. Having to fight against the name of “disabled person” is not without consequence in such conditions. Indeed, this statute also provides financial and human non-negligible. But the narcissistic injury and the identity crisis of this label is to be considered.