04 SES 06 A, Basic Rights
Parallel Paper Session
On the international stage, recent political commitment has been made to education for all children following ratification of the Salamanca Statement (UNESCO, 1994), and social inclusion more broadly for people with disabilities - subsequent to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (2006). However, a major indignity that trouble social development is the continued marginalisation of people with disabilities.
Educational systems, as Barton (1997) observes, contribute in some measure to this deed, as it is through teaching and learning that societies replicate themselves. However, in order to redress educational exclusion, Slee (1996) argues that in seeking to advance current schooling, researchers with disabilities must stringently interrogate educational discourse to reveal structural oppositions to inclusion. The ontological and epistemological significance of disabled researchers engaging in qualitative inquiry alongside marginalised groups in education abound. For one, the reorientation of exploration in this way shores up confrontation with accepted norms that promote exclusion (Slee). Allan (2010), meanwhile, affirms that multi-vocality in education research in this way fulfils a political commitment of scholarship to the sociology of disability.
My objective in the current paper is to demonstrate the relevance of inclusive education research in two related parts. First, I advance the ontological and epistemological significance of qualitative enquiry conducted by a person with a disability with like participants. I use in this analysis some findings of a recent small-scale qualitative study that I conducted in Queensland, Australia with a group of young people with vision impairment (VI) who attended a public secondary school. As a person myself with VI who had studied in an inclusive school in the 1990s, I was motivated to ascertain their lived experiences of current-day educational inclusion. I also draw on some of my own experiences of negotiating deficit and inclusive discourses within school and society more broadly. From my experiences of seeking employment in Australia, to living and working in Spain with little encumbrance, my own narrative – interwoven throughout the paper strengthens the emergent theory as I shall demonstrate in subsequent sections.
Second, I examine the divergences that occur between the written CRPD (2006) - that is enshrined in the legislation of many countries - and its enactment, by comparing aspects of the emergent theory with the rights-driven convention. Taken together, the experiences of both myself and study participants collectively provide valuable tools with which to compare written vis-à-vis enacted inclusion policies across life stages and both cultural and physical settings.
Allan, J. (2010). The sociology of disability and the struggle for inclusive education, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 31(5), 603-619. Barton, L. (1997). The politics of special educational needs. In L. Barton, & M. Oliver (Eds.), Disability Studies: Past, Present and Future (pp. 138-159). Leeds: The Disability Press. Clarke, A. E. (2005). Situational analysis: grounded theory after the postmodern turn. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Slee, R. (1996). Inclusive schooling in Australia? Not yet. Cambridge Journal of Education, 26(1), 19-32. Strauss, A. C., & Corbin, J. M. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded Theory procedures and techniques. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. UNESCO (1994). The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education. Paris: Author. United Nations. (2006). Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. New York: Author. United Nations (2006). Q&A: Why a convention? Retrieved 23 January 2012 from http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/questions.shtml
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