2019 Volume 7 Issue 2 Pages 89-100
This paper discusses the social identity of high school students with low vision (LV) during an interschool interaction. We adopted symbolic interactionism as a theoretical perspective to clarify how both LV and sighted students’ awareness and social identities develop mutually in their interactions. We videotaped a one-day interschool interaction between groups of students with and without visual impairment. Subsequently, we conducted stimulated recall interviews with nine LV and 13 sighted participants. Through interpretative phenomenological analysis, we extracted three themes: the ambiguity of actual identity, the uneasiness and devaluation LV students feel, and the roles of supporter and learner of knowledge about disability. The results revealed that the LV students’ actual identities during the interaction were not simply those of impaired beings who were always supported by others. Furthermore, their virtual and actual identities fluctuated in comparison to sighted students. We argue that this identity destabilization is significant for LV students’ identity development, thus, making it imperative to discuss the quality of interschool interactions to create meaningful opportunities for LV students.