07 SES 08 B, Social Justice: Marginalization and Special Education
Multiculturalism is a condition that now characterizes the whole world and due to current immigration dynamics, disability dimension has crossed the intercultural issue. In Italy, as in most European countries, the phenomenon of migrant people with disabilities is increasing year by year (European Agency For Special Needs and Inclusive Education 2009), this means that disability is facing the significant dimension of cultural diversity.. Starting from a crossed theoretical framework we defined a specific classification of significant dimensions (cultural identity; transcultural factors; individual factors) which to us seemed indicative as regards the relationship between cultural diversity and disability. Through an empirical mixed method research, we will seek to show the different weight/importance, which is given to these dimensions by operators who work with people with disabilities, in order to capture their stance on cultural diversity. The study regards services for people with intellectual disabilities in the north-east of Italy, and aims to explore how specialists who work in such services perceive each significant dimension of cultural diversity in terms of significance. The main research questions are related to the exploration of the topic, in particular revealing which significant dimensions of cultural identity, transcultural factors and individual factors are perceived as influential by the operators. At the same time this research would hope to expand the knowledge on this matter, since there has until very recently been a lack of empirical or theoretical studies in Italy. The educational implications of this study is helping educational contexts (like schools or services) to find the best inclusive strategies and practice; moreover, the comprehension of operators’ perceptions on cultural diversity in relation to their work in that services allows us to focus on real educational needs thus, to think and prepare adequate training for operators.
The study of this phenomenon (cultural diversity and disability) requires the adoption of an interdisciplinary approach that combines intercultural and special education, specifically focusing on the intersection of the two disciplines where common aspects are shared.
Since there are few references in the literature about this specific topic, the main theoretical mention was influenced by Moro (1994, 2002, 2004), an ethno-psychiatrist that has studied this issue in a French background through a complementary and transcultural approach. The three main points he makes are:
- the cultural dimension somehow affects the interpretation of disability;
- language is a crucial aspect in educational and psychological treatment;
- difference is a human and social resource.
As regards defining the conceptual framing of “dual diversity” in an Italian context we refer to the most recent and relevant Italian research studies (Caldin 2012, Goussot 2011, Martinazzoli 2013) that have examined the subject within the educational framework. In particular there are two main points:
- when disability and cultural diversity are added the risk factors increase;
- it is important to consider the cultural dimension when teachers, educators, operators or specialists work with migrant people with disabilities and their families.
Another theory that can be related to this topic is about the concept of “dilemma of difference” (Terzi 2005, 2008), developed within the field of philosophy of education, which analyses in terms of social justice:
- how do school and the social system meet people’s differences (special education-VS-inclusion);
difference as an individual and social aspec
We developed a specific classification of significant dimensions following a top down approach.
The three significant dimensions we identified are:
- cultural identity,
- transcultural factors,
- individual factors.
In our study we will seek to show the different weight/importance which is given to these dimensions by operators who work with people with disabilities, in order to capture their stance on cultural diversity.
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