04 SES 11 A, Exploring Intersectional Oppressions in Education: Challenges for Europe and Latin America regarding children with disabilities
Italy’s last general election offers a great example of post-truth politics and the exploitation of civil society’s emotion to pursue an anti-immigration and anti-Blackness agenda. While the issuing of a welfarist ministerial directive in 2012 legally introduced the macro-category of Special Educational Needs in Italy, which stipulates ‘nature of the need’ of disabled children, and resources to meet it through multi-professional assessment procedures (Armstrong, 2007:556); the introduction of Renzi’s policy reform, Buona Scuola in 2015 marked a shift towards a neoliberal approach inclusion. This neoliberal-special needs apparatus is now being reworked by an emerging populist reason, mobilised by the current far-right government led by Minister Salvini, whose programmatic mantra “help them back home” opens up for specific racialised statements to be said and thought. This paper explores the inclusion of disabled refugee in the Italian context by analysing how a welfarist model of migrant protection (Rose, 1999; Dean, 2010) based on solidarity of Integrazione Scolastica (D’Alessio, 2011), a neoliberal approach which targets certain racialised subjects, and emerging populist feelings, mobilise certain truths and open up specific positions for migrant and forced-migrant disabled children in education. Drawing upon Foucault’s (1978; 1979) analysis of power/knowledge relations, and referring to Tomlinson’s (1982) benevolent humanitarianism as a technology of power, we problematize processes of objectification and subjectification of disabled migrant children, showing how the productive nature of power let emerge deserving and un-deserving subjects of neoliberal education. Data have been analysed through a qualitative constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 2014) during the period that Buona Scuola was enacted; and the findings presented here are based on five interviews with educators and professionals from five refugee organizations in Rome. The analysis highlights how the neoliberal apparatus that mobilises educators, children’s subjectivities and policy discourses let different subject positions to emerge, reworking the liberal autonomy through post-truths based on neoliberal dictata of ‘finding a job’, ‘learning Italian’, and ‘having a house’. Ultimately, the paper advances the intersectional approach of Disability Critical Race Theory (DisCrit) to (re)frame educational and social inclusion in Italy, maintaining how: (i) the space of neoliberal inclusion perpetuates racial disparities and produces new forms of exclusion (Annamma, Connor, Ferri, 2013); (ii) power/knowledge relations mobilises a new ableist and racist subjects’ positions, (iii) relationships based on solidarity offer us a unique tool to refuse the neoliberal populist populist apparatus and work through the fleeting and contingent truths being said on disabled migrant bodies
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