Youth multilingualism and discourses of disability: An intersectional approach
MetadataShow full item record
Disability, as a topic of investigation, is considerably overlooked in the discipline of sociolinguistics. This thesis aims to bridge the gap between disability and sociolinguistics studies, as I critically explore the role language and multilingualism plays in the way we understand and construct the discourses of disability. Based on a year-long ethnographic study at what is defined as a “special needs school”, I offer a first-hand description of being a researcher with a disability through personal anecdotes. In these anecdotes, I account for my own positionality to highlight the importance of reflectivity and positionality when doing ethnographic fieldwork. Aside from these personal anecdotes, I also capture everyday interactions among young disabled people. In order to analyse these disabled youth multilingual interactions, I applied the notions of stylization, enregisterment and embodied intersectionality. In these examinations, we are able to see how multilingualism is used to negotiate a position of being seen as disabled. By looking at these personal anecdotes and everyday interactions as whole, the study provides a more comprehensive view of the way we talk and represent disability. I conclude this thesis by offering a new direction for disability and youth multilingualism studies, a direction that emphasises the importance of positionality when doing research on the agency of disabled people.