Nathaniel B. Higby

Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-13-2015

Major Department or Program



Keith Farrington


This research project explores how various demographic information such as household income, age, and affiliation with Deaf culture can influence and shape attitudes held by culturally Deaf individuals. I produced and distributed an online survey for culturally Deaf individuals to take. This survey and the analysis that followed are both highly quantitative in nature and enabled me to find statistical correlations between the independent and dependent variables in question. To further ground my research, I utilize the theoretical frameworks of Bourdieu’s concept of capital, subculture theory, and the social model of disability theory. Through this analysis and application of theory, I hope to supplement the gap in literature in regards to how social identifiers can alter perceptions and opinions held by Deaf individuals. My findings complicate conceptualizations of membership to Deaf culture and suggest that the Deaf who have accumulated a wealth of social and cultural capital are more concerned about the implications that cochlear implants have for their culture.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Deaf culture -- United States, Sociology of disability, Deaf -- Social conditions, American Sign Language, Demography -- Statistical methods, Social theory -- Social Model of Disability, Social identification, Deaf culture -- Affiliation, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2015 -- Sociology Department

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Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

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Sociology Commons



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