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ERIC Number: EJ820479
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1467-9620
Hard of Hearing in Sweden: Educating about and for Pathology
Stratton, Alison
Teachers College Record, v109 n7 p1775-1796 2007
Background/Context: This article returns to and expands upon Cremin's and Garfinkel's ideas about education as work--deliberate, systematic, and sustained work--that changes one's consociates, whether planned or not. That is, education must be seen as occurring everywhere, to and by everyone, in many contexts other than in classrooms or schools. Purpose: In particular, this article examines the ways in which people are instructed to become Hard of Hearing in Sweden. In Sweden, national and medical policies and practices have made Hard of Hearing people almost, but not quite, inevitable. This study explores how people teach each other about hearing loss, and the responses of those being taught. Research Design: Data were collected in 1998-1999 during multi-sited anthropological fieldwork in Sweden and Denmark, at hearing aid examinations, hospitals, labs, schools, manufacturers' offices, governmental institutions, research and training conferences, and universities. Research methods included participant observation, interviews, content analysis, and archival research. Findings/Results: With the active guidance of the state and medicine, people in Sweden teach each other how to become Hard of Hearing. There are a variety of responses to these lessons, ranging from the compliant patient who goes to appointments and wears a hearing aid to patients who are not at all interested in these lessons and do not "obey their teachers" (e.g., audiologists, doctors, hearing aid manufacturers). Patients who do not conform create problems for the health care field and the Swedish state, undermining the structures of Hard of Hearing created to help people who, quite often, do not want to be helped. Conclusion: Hard of Hearing is a social position (re)created by the interactions and interpretations of people, history, and machines, and whole segments of societies are dedicated to its maintenance. It is a transformative, supremely educational arena in which the state, medical institutions, and citizens try to make certain that (1) hearing loss is noticed and people are redefined as satisfactory Swedish Hard of Hearing persons, and (2) all this continues to change as institutions and persons notice each other and new deficiencies. By taking up the moments in the process of becoming Hard of Hearing, this case study exemplifies a broader concept of what can be considered "education." If we are to fully understand what education is for culture theory and research, the kinds of moments and spaces in which learning takes place must include those historical processes, policies, places, and markets of everyday practice previously ignored.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Denmark; Sweden