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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The importance of identity is highlighted by the explosion of publications on the topic, in view of the cultural and ethnic challenges the United States is facing and the ongoing focus on how individuals assume identities based on group associations. This chapter explores the various theories of identity development relevant to deaf identities, including the disability-based framework, the social paradigm, racial identity development models, and acculturation models. Information is also presented on the relationships between deaf identity classifications (culturally Deaf, culturally hearing, bicultural, and marginal) and psychosocial adjustment. Additional categories that are explored include those covering the hard-of-hearing constellation, as well as the ethnic constellation. Technological influences on identity, including hearing aids, cochlear implants, and genetic technology, are also the subject of scrutiny. Issues pertaining to the complexities of biculturalism as based on the Deaf–hearing paradigm are examined, along with current influences that reinforce the concept of a multicultural identity as opposed to strict biculturalism. Current evidence suggests an increasingly fluid nature of identity, depending on environmental pull and individual characteristics.

Keywords: identity, bicultural, deaf identities, deaf identity theories, technology

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