Culture and Co-Cultures

Culture is defined as the beliefs, values, behaviors, artifacts, and practices that a group of people have acquired, used, and shared in their day-to-day activities (Charmley, et al., 5). The idea of shared identity is what unites people in a community where they can advance in life by sharing a variety of experiences. Although race, ethnicity, religion, and nationality are typically used to describe culture, co-cultures do occur within the major cultural groups. Co-cultures are formed by institutions and groups within a society, such as schools, businesses, and special category individuals. The distinctive physiological and psychological characteristics of the co-cultures set them apart from the rest of society. People of special categories in the society including the physically impaired tend to identify themselves as distinct and opt to adopt a distinct culture. The deaf culture is a co-culture that encompasses people who are deaf and their associates and acquaintances. The perception of the deaf people towards the general public tends to characterize their cohesion and identity as a special group. Jonas is a teacher in a nearby school for the deaf. Jonas who is also deaf is a regional coordinator for the people with disabilities organization. For the purpose of the research, I served Jonas with a questionnaire to acquire data on the perceptions towards the main culture and the core values defining the deaf co-culture.<\/p>

Research Questions

How does the deaf co-culture get along with the main culture in the society?<\/p>

What are the differences and similarities in the language and core values of the deaf co-culture and the main culture in communities?<\/p>

Why does a section of the main public categorize the deaf co-culture as a disability?<\/p>

Research Design

The research design define how data was collected, the control measures that ensured credibility of the information and the analysis of the data that helped in arriving at a conclusion. This research used questionnaire as a data collection technique. The target population was the people with hearing impairment and me not being conversant with sign language, questionnaire proved to be appropriate. To ensure reliability of the data towards answering the research questions, the questionnaire was subjected to scrutiny and analyzed against the aim of the research to ensure it was appropriate. Both open and closed ended questions were used in the research. the questionnaire was served to the respondent after ascertaining that he was aware of what was required of him and he was under no duress to fill the questionnaire. The responses from the questions were written in the questionnaire and the form kept for record. The research used qualitative analysis to describe the findings from the questionnaire. The conclusion was arrived after analyzing the results of the research against the research questions and the main aim of the research.<\/p>

Data Collection

The research made a sample of one individual who seemed appropriate for the research. a questionnaire was served to him and collected after a week whereby it was duly filled. The questionnaire was kept for record.<\/p>

Discussion: Interpretation of Findings

From the questionnaire, a lot can be deduced that can help towards the conclusion of the research. Jonas noted that the deaf sign language is not universal across the world. In the United States of America, American Sign Language (ASL) is widely used. However, the American Sign Language encompasses dialects from the Black American Sign language. In other parts of the world, different standards are imposed on the sign language as seen in the French Sign Language amongst others. Therefore, sign language is not universal (Ganezer, 13).<\/p>

Jonas defined the deaf community as beyond the deaf in the society to include the families, friends, policy makers, learning institutions and the organizations representing the deaf. The deaf Community involves everyone who is affected by the presence of the deaf in one way or another. The fact that the deaf community is wide and almost touches on everyone in the society therefore, indicates that the perceptions and the activities touching on the deaf is a communal affair.<\/p>

All deaf people cannot read lips. This is according to Jonas in the information in the questionnaire. It appears that just like the normal people cannot understand all languages spoken across the globe, all deaf people also cannot read lips (Koch, 19). Also, according to Jonas, not all deaf people have hereditary deaf disabilities in their families. Not all deaf people have deaf parents or grandparents thus insinuating that deafness is not hereditary.<\/p>

Jonas notes that he views other people who are not deaf as just normal with no prejudice or stereotyping. The perception of Jonas to the general public is seen as liberal and this could be attributed to his level of exposure and role in the deaf community that makes him understand the composition of the general public and avoid forming unfounded negative attitude. He also notes that he thinks normal people view the deaf differently. The fact that deaf people have a physical impairment can be the basis for the normal population to view them as special (Padden, 37).<\/p>

From the questionnaire, Jonas identifies the schools for the deaf as places where the deaf people can be met in large numbers. Prevalence of deafness can be noted as minimal thus not normal to meet a deaf person on a daily basis on a usual life business. Jonas also notes that at times he feels discriminated. Discrimination is imminent in that the inability of the deaf to hear can form a basis for isolation in discussions (Richardson, 7).<\/p>

Jonas agrees that deafness is a disability but on the other hand it is not a disability. Deaf people can perform duties that normal people perform despite them being deaf. From the questionnaire, Jonas advices that one can know how to communicate with a deaf person by learning from a person who knows how to do so or by use of written language and someone interprets the same in sign language.<\/p>

My Critical Role as a Researcher<\/h2>

The use of structured and unstructured questions allowed the respondent to be flexible while answering the questions. Flexibility helped in curbing bias. Well designed questions that are universal helped in avoiding prejudice and negative assumptions. The interviewee seemed comfortable as he had to fill the questionnaire at his own time and the questionnaire contained no details of the respondent that could lead to any form of victimization for the information provided.<\/p>


The main culture and the deaf co-culture exhibit a mutual relation that requires close coordination to ensure the well-being of everyone in the society. The presence of the deaf in the society affects relatively everyone thus prompting the main culture and the deaf sub-culture to get along well. Deaf co-culture and the main culture in the society are similar in the use of language and values whereby not everyone who is deaf can read lips or have a universal sign language just like the spoken language is not universal and everyone cannot understand it. The deaf co-culture are categorized as disability due to their physical impairment however, the deaf people can perform duties just like anyone else.<\/p>

In the research, I could improve on the number of respondents to allow for comparison of information in order to form a more objective conclusion about deaf co-culture.<\/p>

Work Cited

Charmley, Ryan, Tony Garry, and Paul W. Ballantine. “The inauthentic other: Social comparison theory and brand avoidance within consumer sub-cultures.” Journal of Brand Management 20.6 (2013): 458-472.

Ganezer, Gilda T. Deaf Culture 101: A Visual Reference to Deaf Culture, American Sign Language and Asl Interpreting. United States of American: Everyday ASL Productions, Ltd, 2016. Print.

Koch, Lisa. Learning American Sign Language to Experience the Essence of Deaf Culture.San Diego California: Cognella Academic Publishing, 2016. Print.

Padden, Carol, Tom Humphries, and Carol Padden. Inside deaf culture . Harvard University Press, 2009.

Richardson, Kathleen J. “Deaf culture: Competencies and best practices.” The Nurse Practitioner 39.5 (2014): 20-28.

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