On “diversity” and “inclusion”: exploring paradigms for achieving sign language peoples’ rights

by Annelies Kusters, Maartje De Meulder, Michele Friedner, Steve Emery

Working Papers WP 15-02
March 2015
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

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The use of the concepts “diversity” and “inclusion” are analyzed with regard to deaf people, whom we call Sign Language Peoples (SLPs), specifically in policy discourses (as used by the World Federation of the Deaf and in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and academic discourses (particularly the concept of Deaf Gain). Discussing such discourses, we evaluate the promises and perils of “diversity” and “inclusion” in policy positions and scholarly analysis. We argue that in order for these concepts to be useful for SLPs in the achievement of rights, we need to foreground a specific understanding of inclusion as societal inclusion, and diversity as needing a group rights-based foundation. As such, we explore different paradigms for understanding how SLPs are part of diversity and how they can be included. As such, we contribute to scholarship and debate on inclusion and diversity beyond the particular case of SLPs.

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