Identity, language and culture: Using Africanist Sista-hood and Deaf cultural discourse in research with minority social workers

Chijioke Obasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Central to any anti-oppressive research endeavour is the importance of reflexivity and the genuine attempt from researchers to turn the research tools on themselves (Hermans, 2019). Beyond research, the social work profession has much to learn from the reflexive accounts of researchers. Issues of identity, language and culture are widely recognised as important when working with service users and carers in social work; however, this is much less the case when considering identities of social work practitioners. Starting with personal and professional positions of Black female and Deaf female social workers, this article reveals the reflexive journey of the Black female hearing researcher undertaking the research. The article takes an original approach to theory construction by introducing ‘Africanist Sista-hood in Britain’ and marrying this with Deaf cultural discourse in the form of Deafhood, Deaf ethnicity and Deaf Gain, all of which make valuable contribution to existing debates in identity politics and the importance of self-naming and self-actualisation. Within the article the author discusses epistemological challenges in theory construction, data collection, language, transcription and dissemination, as they linked to power, privilege and the different forms this took within the research.

The article makes a number of significant contributions. It introduces Africanist Sista-hood in Britain as a useful theoretical framework in research and at the same time encourages theoretical alliances across other marginalised groups. In discussing issues of knowledge production beyond existing hegemonic frames, it offers a broadening of the lens beyond the ways in which identity, culture and ethnicity are currently understood in the mainstream. In discussing Deaf cultural discourse and its influence on methodological choices it invites researchers to better engage with these issues from perspectives articulated by Deaf people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-368
Number of pages16
JournalQualitative Research
Issue number3
Early online date18 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2021


  • Africanist Sista-hood
  • Africana Womanism
  • black feminism
  • deafhood
  • deaf ethnicity
  • deaf gain
  • black social workers
  • deaf social workers
  • reflexivity
  • identity


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