Revista de Sociologia e Política
Print version ISSN 0104-4478
GARCEZ, Regiane L. O. and MAIA, Rousiley C. M.. Struggles for the recognition of the deaf through the Internet: the political effects of testimony. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2009, vol.17, n.34, pp. 85-101. ISSN 0104-4478. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-44782009000300007.
In this article, we investigate the opportunities that the Internet offers for minority or marginalized groups to express themselves, focusing on the struggles for recognition that deaf people have initiated. We focus particularly on the political representation of interests by the leadership of this social movement and contentions that have arisen within this collectivity regarding definition of the "common good". The material we analyze is the testimony provided through two different internet spaces: the website of an association of the deaf - the Federação Nacional de Educação e Integração dos Surdos (National Federation for the Education and Integration of the Deaf (Feneis)) - and a discussion forum belong to a social portal (Orkut). Testimonies on the Feneis site show a relatively homogeneous public discourse - with definitions of well-being and projections of future goals - that seek to demonstrate the existence of an "us", to mediate the formation of opinion and express political will. Analysis of the Orkut forum shows that those affected and concerned, in discussing their individual aspirations and interests, diverge considerably regarding details of the common good. We argue that the use of testimonies produces different effects regarding interchange of experience, legitimacy of demands and collective learning, within different virtual environments.
Keywords : Internet; recognition; testimony; the deaf; minority groups.