Coreen Anne McGuire
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Note on terminology

Note on terminology

I have used the word ‘disabled’ in this book in relation to hearing loss, with full awareness that many deaf people do not consider themselves disabled. I have avoided referring to people ‘with disabilities’ in order to emphasise, in line with the social model of disability, that people are disabled as a result of the workings of society. Disablement is often contingent on temporality, spaces, cultures and contexts. In this book, I demonstrate the way in which people have also been disabled by technology and measurement systems. Therefore, while I use the word disabled, I am fully aware that it does not reflect the experiences of most people with hearing loss, or the Deaf. In this context and in this book, the word Deaf is capitalised in order to indicate the way that the term is being used to represent the members and views of a group identified by culture and community rather than through their medical status. The Post Office often referred to ‘Deaf Subscribers’ and a ‘Deaf Telephone Service’, and I have reproduced primary sources verbatim. However, it is important to note that in those instances, the capitalisation of Deaf indicates the historically accurate title but is not indicative of the cultural identity now attached to the Deaf.

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Measuring difference, numbering normal

Setting the standards for disability in the interwar period.


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