Date of Award

1-1-2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Benford, Robert

Abstract

Using the analytical tool frame resonance, this research empirically assesses the alignment of personal and collective identities within the context of the Deaf Culture Movement (DCM) in the United States. Though social movement researchers assume that identities, culture, beliefs, and values are developments of interactional processes, the current literature remains considerably one sided in its emphasis on this meaning work on the part of elite social movement organizers (Benford 1997). Thus, this research takes for granted the variability of how collective identities and ideologies are understood, adopted, and resonate at the micro level. Through routine observation of various DCM activities and in-depth interviews with deaf who regularly participate within DCM activities, this research examines their process of adopting, modifying, or rejecting the DCM identity. In addition to alignment, the assessment of personal identity narratives also reveals unique and familiar passing and accounting strategies as respondents in order to avoid or repair contentious interactions. This research adds to current social movement literature including but not limited to framing processes, resonance, collective identity, identity correspondence, and interpretative work by members on the "fringes" of social movement activity. Further, this research also contributes to current Deaf studies literature and integrates these insights into mainstream sociological literature.

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