Exclusion and Inclusion in Peer Groups: The Construction of Exclusionary Acts by Hearing and Deaf Youth

Event Date: 

Friday, February 12, 2021 - 1:30pm to 3:30pm

Event Location: 

  • https://ucsb.zoom.us/j/6606196473 Password 375626

In this talk, we bring together findings from ethnographic research on a girls’ peer group of mixed ethnicities and social classes in an elementary school in Southern California and a mainstream elementary classroom with three deaf students in Iquitos, Peru. In the latter field site, the deaf youth have grown up without acquiring either Spanish or Peruvian Sign Language and, therefore, communicate using local signs that they have developed over the course of their lifetime. Despite the cultural, socioeconomic, and stark linguistic differences between the youth in these school settings, we find that the children are similarly engaged in reinforcing bonds of solidarity within their peer groups through explicit acts of classmate exclusion. We approach our work with children concerned with people’s lived experiences, asking: What does it mean to inhabit the world of a group of peers? and How is exclusion achieved in peer interaction? In addressing these questions, we begin from the premise that “a primordial site for the organization of human action, cognition, language, and social organization consists of a situation within which multiple participants are building in concert with each other the actions that define and shape their lifeworld” (Goodwin & Goodwin 2004, 223). Thus, we use video recordings of naturally occurring interactions from our distinct ethnographic contexts to look at how practices of exclusion and ridicule are constructed in moments of situated interaction among peers working co-operatively with one another. In doing so, we focus our discussion on the bodily organization, multiparty participation frameworks, multimodal semiotic resources, and sequential organization that constitute exclusionary acts. The similarities in the construction of exclusionary acts between our sites is particularly noteworthy given that the deaf youth are accomplishing similar social work without the linguistic resources of the Southern California girls. This comparison provides an important site to investigate the abilities that underlie human sociality.