Hierarchy and dichotomy in Logocentrism

By Jolanta Lapiak, 2007.

This deeply rooted Western belief system has perpetuated the idea that language equates with speech within the hierarchical structure.

Deaf is expected to fit in the hearing society for the reasons: phonocentrism; hearing majority vs Deaf minority.In D-view, size does not matter. Look at the majority of dark-skinned population in poverty compared to the minority of white population with power. Regardless of the size of population, individuals are the right to equal human rights.

phonocentrism: ptolemy of language

Hierarchy is one of logocentrism's characteristics. The diagram above shows the hierarchy of purity and language starting with God (absolute, truth, purity) down to thought (the closest to God), speech associated with language (an imitation of thought), writing (an imitation of speech), and finally sign language (a substitute for speech).

There, logocentrism and its phonocentrism result in: audism (discrimination based on hearing status), iconoclasm (religious opposition to image), signoclasm (slashing hands for using sign language), downcast eyes on images (associated with pictures, low literacy, etc) for music (associated with mathematics, reason, logic), anti-ocularcentrism, hearing privelege, and so on.

Now you know where they come from or where you come from? Let's move on the next post on phonocentrism.

Logocentric attitude/mentality

Here are some examples of logocentric attitude and mentality found in daily literature, behavior, and belief.

sign language is a substitute of speech. Hierarchy.

If no speech, then gesture. Hierarchy.

Aristotle proclaimed that "Deaf cannot reason without hearing." How logical is that!

Images = a supplement to the text. Superiority and hierarchy. How about text is a supplement to the image? That would work too.

Language <--> hearing

Left cerebral hemisphere = speech language. When in fact speaking ASL activates the same linguistic regions of the left brain (Broca and Wernicke).

Mathematics = sound = divine. Where sound can be replaced with "vibration" that applies to both hearing and eyeing people.


[1] Jim Powell, Derrida for Beginners, (New York: Writers and Readers Publishing, 1997), p 33 cited in Alex Scott.

You may also be interested in deconstruction from center to margin

Also see Logocentrism and sign language

Introducing Phonocentrism and sign language

Deconstruction and sign language