On the possibilities and limits of "DEAF DEAF SAME": Tourism and empowerment camps in Adamorobe (Ghana), Bangalore and Mumbai (India).

Michele Ilana Friedner, Annelies Kusters


This article qualitatively analyzes the ways that the discourse of "deaf universalism" circulates within two common deaf practices: tourism and engaging in interventions. Arguing that the largely Northern-situated discipline of Deaf Studies does not adequately examine how deaf bodies and discourses travel, ethnographic data compiled in India and Ghana during transnational encounters is employed to examine how claims of "sameness" and "difference" are enacted and negotiated. Similarly, this article examines how deaf individuals and groups deploy the concepts of deaf "heavens" and "hells" to analyze their travel experiences and justify interventions. We argue that deaf travelers and those engaging in interventions, mostly from Northern countries, employ teleological concepts that they attempt to impose on deaf "others." Adopting a critical approach, this article argues for the importance of carving out a space within Deaf Studies for allowing non-Northern concepts to come to the fore.

Keywords: Deaf, Development, Universalism, Discourse, India, Ghana


Deaf; Development; Universalism; Discourse; India; Ghana

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v34i3.4246

Copyright (c) 2014 Michele Ilana Friedner, Annelies Kusters

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