The Influence of Social Discourses Concerning Deafness on the Interaction between Mothers and Their Deaf Child.

Kimberly Mouvet, Liesbeth Matthijs, Annemieke Van Herreweghe, Gerrit Loots

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


This paper investigates narratives of a hearing mother of a congenitally deaf child as it develops over time, more specifically from the end of the diagnostic process as outlined by the Universal Neonatal Hearing Screening in Flanders (02/2010) to the active utilization of bilateral cochlear implants (12/2010) and how this is translated into the interaction between mother and child. Studies have shown that information concerning cochlear implantation, often provided in a predominantly medical setting, creates a bias against Deaf culture (Berg et al. 2007; 2005; Hyde & Power 2000). This is clearly attested in this particular case, as the mother was initially involved in Deaf culture by diverse routes, to then develop a narrative that was more medically oriented.
The means of investigation are narrative analyses of interviews taken from the mother when the child was six, nine, twelve, and eighteen months old. These analyses are then compared with micro-analyses of videotaped interaction between mother and child during the same visits. The analysis of the interviews combines theoretical insights from both Listening Guide Method as conceived by Gilligan (giving a stage to the different voices within the narrative) and Conversation Analysis as conceived by Pomerantz & Fehr (paying close attention to manner of speaking and adjacency pairs). The analysis of the interaction is done in ELAN, taking into account spoken Dutch, Flemish Sign Language, eye gaze, gesture, and action from both mother and child.
The comparison between the narrative analysis and the analysis of interaction shows that a definite change in behaviour of the mother after the child's implantation at age ten months coincides with certain doubts about her own intuition towards interacting with her deaf child. The analyses show that the input of medical professionals have had great impact on the nature of the relationship between mother and child.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2011
EventUnknown -
Duration: 16 Sep 2011 → …


Period16/09/11 → …


  • coch
  • cochlear implantation; social influence; discourse


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