"No ears allowed?" An Anthropological Exploration of the International Symbol of Deafness
Symbols shape how social actors experience, feel and make meaning of their everyday life and social interactions. When we see a symbol, our brain processes it and denotes its meaning. Some symbols have obvious and clear meaning; others are vague, unclear and ambiguous. In this paper, I interrogate the international symbol of deafness / hard of hearing. On one level, the international symbol of deafness/hard of hearing acts as a key summarising symbol. Here it intends to represent the deaf community. However, through interviews with the Deaf community, their friends, parents, interpreters and CODA (Children of Deaf Adults) I show that the symbol operates more as an elaborating symbol, by fitting complex and possibly indistinguishable beliefs, practices, concepts and emotions into a workable framework.