Ethnographic Strategies for Engaging Deaf Youth Participants

Ethnographic Strategies for Engaging Deaf Youth Participants: Photovoice and Participatory Analysis

Anne E. Pfister



Researchers across disciplines have looked to deaf individuals and communities to learn about many aspects of human experience, earning deaf people’s unique biological and social status a subjugated position in scientific inquiry. All too often deaf people appear in the literature as research “subjects” rather than active, autonomous participants, or partner-researchers. My research investigated deaf youth identity in Mexico City, Mexico, with a focus on the emic perspectives of my adolescent participants and their families. My focus deaf epistemologies led me to photovoice for data collection and analysis. This article outlines the engagement of deaf youth participants through the participatory visual data collection method photovoice, which allowed me to achieve the goals of a community-based research design. This article explores the unique needs of deaf youth research participants and epistemological considerations for community-based work among deaf youth in Mexico City. I discuss innovative ethnographic results revealing deaf youth’s emic perspectives through participatory analysis.

Keywords: Deaf, Identity, Visual Methods, Photovoice, Community-Based Research

Download Full Text – Pfister 2013

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