COLLECTIVE IDENTITY, LEARNING, AND THE DEAF RIGHTS MOVEMENT

Susan S. Lee

Abstract


Social movement learning, as a research area, brings together the scholarly discourses on social movements and learning. The concept of collective identity is well suited for the analysis of social movement learning since learning is an integral component of this new social movement perspective. The criteria for the collective identity concept, as theorized by Alberto Melucci, include cognitive knowledge, a network of active relationships, and emotional engagement, while the analytical components include three axes along the continuums of solidarity and aggregation, maintenance and breaching of limits, and consensus and conflict. This paper will take a case study approach to apply the theory of collective identity and the dimensions of learning to a catalyst in the Deaf rights movement, namely the Deaf President Now protest at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. The intersections of collective identity and learning within social movements will also be analyzed in relationship to social and legislative changes.  


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