ERG SES G 01, Inclusive Education
It seems that inclusion, be it social or educational, can hardly be contested. Inclusion, at least as a buzzword, has found its place in national as well as international discourses on education and society in general (e. g. in relation to wage labour). The reasons for a shared acceptance of inclusive education and its emergence as a legitimate discourse in education and society itself are complex and varied.In the present paper we will try to trace two moments we believe were crucial for its development, namely: the emergence of social exclusion as a political problem (Zamora 2015) and the ties that bind inclusive education with special education. We will first try to sketch the context in which social exclusion becomes a political problem thus helping to reframe questions of social justice. This reframing of the question of social justice was, as we will try to show, one of the prerequisites for a problematization of education as education for all children. We will try to demonstrate this by analysing the notion of handicap and educational needs as it was established in the Warnock Report. We have chosen this document as it has made a significant contribution to conceptualising education by reinforcing a certain type of discourse - the discourse of special needs - that has transgressed state boundaries and can thus offer us an insight into a rationality of society and education characteristic of the West in general. In the last part of the paper we will present certain elements of inclusive education conceived as education for all children and outline some issues that they raise. Since theories of inclusive education are diverse, we will do this by mostly relying on a smaller number of researchers, representative of two dominant approaches to inclusive education. The first approach is predominantly focused on school improvement, while the second, drawing heavily form critical social theory, focuses more on emphasising the social construction of disabilities and inclusion. We will thus focus mostly on the shift in conceptualising what could be called relevant and legitimate educational needs and its implications for educational practice, while trying to understand both of these elements in light of changes in contemporary Western societies and of currently dominant educational rationalities.
In our paper we have used document analysis. We were focused on the concept of educational need. We have chosen this document (The Warnock Report) as it represents a realisation of the then current rationalities of education. Despite the fact that it concerns the UK specifically, it has contributed significantly to the establishment of the discourse of special educational needs as one of the key discourses in education globally. The Report is thus one of the moments representing the emergence of a different conceptualisation of students, the nature of different abilities and the role education plays in society. Furthermore an analysis of this document enables us to evaluate current trends in inclusive education, which we will briefly sketch out in the second part of our paper.
In the paper we will try to show the complexity of the development of inclusive education, emphasising that we are not speaking of a linear trajectory of progress but a trajectory marked by the (sometimes clashing) dynamics of different rationalities. We will do so in an attempt to gain a better understanding of inclusive education and the implications it has for educational practice. This should enable us to rethink what consequences an oversimplifed understanding of otherwise hardly contested concepts such as inclusion, participation, democracy and social justice can have for education and its task of reducing social inequalities.
Ainscow, M. (2002). Understanding the development of inclusive schools. London: Routledge. Ainscow, M. (2012b). Moving knowledge around: strategies for fostering equity within educational systems. Journal of educational change, vol. 13, št. 3, str. 289-310. Booth, T. in Ainscow, M. (2002). Index for inclusion: developing learning and participation in schools. Bristol: CSIE. Department of Education and Science (1978). Special educational needs (The Warnock Report). London: HMSO. Foucault, M. (2009) Security, territory, population: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1977-1978. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Hartley, D. (2012). Education and the culture of consumption: personalisation and the social order. London: Routledge. Slee, R. (2010). Political economy, inclusive education and teacher education. V C. Forlin (ur.), Teacher education for inclusion, changing paradigms and innovative approaches, str. 13-22. Abingdon: Routledge. Slee, R. (2011). The irregular school: exclusion, schooling and inclusive education. Abingdon: Routledge. Zamora, D. (2015). Foucault, the Excluded and the Neoliberal Erosion of the State. In Zamora, D. and Behrent, C., M. (ed.) Foucault and Neoliberalism. Cambridge: Polity Press.
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