The educative potential of film: Philosophical perspectives on the stories of young deaf people through accounting, translation, and voice.


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis is a highly original, philosophical study in two parts. The first part is a film titled ‘What’s special about me?’, made with two young deaf boys. The film was shot, on small hand-held devices by the author and the boys themselves. In the film, the boys talk about their lives and experiences. The film does not, however, make an empirical contribution to the thesis. It is there to enable a philosophical argument to be made about the educative potentialities of film.
The second part of the thesis is a written study. The opening chapter of the written part of the thesis draws upon the current literature on deafness to describe the young deaf experience, particularly in schools. The second chapter turns away from traditional narrative methodology. It takes an unusual turn to argue for a philosophical approach that is best suited to reaching a philosophical understanding of the three key concepts of accounting, translation, and voice, in relation to the stories of young deaf people on film. The third chapter provides an explanation of these three key philosophical concepts, drawing upon the works of the 19th century Transcendentalist philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, and the work of the 20th century ordinary language philosopher, Stanley Cavell. The fourth chapter argues that the disruptive nature of film is at the heart of what makes film educative, in a perfectionist way, as opposed to educational. The penultimate chapter provides a reading of the film, offering a richly philosophical and original reading of the film through dialogue. The final chapter begins by making new claims for the understanding of the philosophical notions of accounting, translation, and voice in relation to the film. It then goes on to make claims upon the communities involved with young deaf people, and the deaf community itself.
Date of Award15 Jul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorAMANDA FULFORD (Director of Studies) & CAROL ROBINSON (Supervisor)


  • Film
  • Deaf
  • Cavell
  • Accounting
  • Translation
  • Voice
  • Claim

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