Deaf geographies, and other worlds.
Today, in the Italian Parliament, a bill is being voted in that changes the status of Italian Sign Language from a full natural language, proven as such by years of accepted linguistic research, to a gestural system that doesn’t need any kind of recognition.
The fear of Italian (and other) DEAF people is that the change in legislative status will lead to a withdrawal of any kind of formal provision for the language (interpreting, schooling in sign etc.) now unmerited by an ‘idiom’.
I agree… and I’ve signed the British-based petition to support Italian Sign, and forwarded the Italian-based version to colleagues of mine who can sign it because they are Italian Nationals.
But what interests me too, is how anyone got enough leverage to get an MP there to present a bill that explicitly denies the validity of some 40 years of linguistic research.
Sure… there is a big CI lobby there (as everywhere) and it would be interesting to see what impact or influence they had… but isn’t this just symptomatic of the different spaces of knowledge that exist in and around the DEAF community? And the protests symptomatic of the fire-fighting that goes on when those different spaces meet?
The question for me is how to bring those spaces of knowledge together in a meaningful discourse before this kind of thing happens so that it doesn’t…