Author Information

Anne PfisterFollow


College of Arts & Sciences


Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work


Assistant Professor

Biographical Statement

In this article, I trace the most salient features of Mexican families’ complex journeys as they coped with the “predicament” of childhood deafness. Framing support seeking through the theoretical lens of pilgrimage brings into focus family introspection and captures their tenacity while facing culture-specific obstacles. Ultimately, families realized their quests were not about “fixing” their children’s hearing, but finding more reliable communication in sign language. Pilgrimage, as a metaphor for the journeys described by participants, helps us understand families’ realizations that the biomedical options most commonly available in Mexico City were of limited efficacy, and reveals collective desire for alternatives to these options.

Type of Work

Journal Article

Publication Information

Anne E. Pfister (2018): Predicament and Pilgrimage: Hearing Families of Deaf Children in Mexico City, Medical Anthropology, DOI: 10.1080/01459740.2018.1540617



Predicament & Pilgrimage: Hearing Families of Deaf Children in Mexico City