ERIC Number: ED406803
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Building Deaf Community in Cyberspace: A Case Study of a Deaf Listserv.
This study examined the effects of computer-mediated communication (CMC) in creating a new environment for the development of a deaf community through a case study of DEAF-L, an on-line discussion venue focusing on issues and concerns relating to deaf people. Data collection took the form of participant observation and analysis of transcripts of listserv communication over a 20-day period. A total of 851 messages (1,600 pages of text) were examined to determine the extent to which this electronic environment facilitated the discussion of deafness. Analysis was both quantitative (numbers per day, length, and numbers per topic), and qualitative (message relationship to the deaf community, information sharing, discussing versus "flaming," and various roles of participants). Among the many topics discussed on DEAF-L during this period were deaf culture, deaf humor, definitions, employment, health, hearing aids, relationship to the hearing, interpreters, legislation, lifestyles, oralism, religion, sign language, software, and using voice. The study found that CMC, and specifically DEAF-L, does provide an environment in which information can be exchanged and ideas debated while facilitating the development of a new kind of deaf community predicated on interest in deafness rather than language modalities. (DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Ontario Inst. for Studies in Education, Toronto.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).