Inclusion Seen Through The Fabrication Of The Disabled Child In Policy Documents

Anette Bagger, Daniel Östlund

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Inclusion is in public debate put in the fore as hindering learning of non-disabled students, who should not be hindered to evolve and improve. A tension exists between who is fabricated as the learner and the social epistemology of what inclusion means, and this seems to be connected to ability and disability. The question is, how this can be understood historically and concerning children with disabilities. A perspective that highly emphasizes ability expectations and the evolving of individuals, can be labeled a transhuman perspective. This has been criticized by Brossard Børhaug & Reindal (2018) who call for a revisiting of inclusion as a ethical responsibility in which the individuals equity, quality of life and agency in their lives at large, are core. This paper investigates historical aspects of the social epistemology of inclusion and the fabrication of the child with intellectual disabilities (ID) during the 20th century. We claim that the fabrication and the social epistemology constitute and re-create each other. We draw on Popkewitzs (2012) theories on our exploration of how the child with ID has been fabricated over time and how this relates to the current social epistemology of inclusion. By social epistemology we refer to the systems of categories that affects how we understand, relate to and approach thoughts and theories of knowledge, and in this case knowledge about inclusion. This system of concepts and categories which are used to understand and construct the world, becomes undreflected and normalised over time and is therefore important to systematically scrutinize (Popkewitz, 2014). Fabricatio n refers to how policy documents inscribe prerequisites, terms and possibilities concerning the children with ID and by that also state motives, values, assumptions and what is taken for granted about who that child is and could be (Popkewitz, 2012). “A school for all” has been an education goal for the past 70 years in Sweden and inclusion has been in the school policy since 1980s. Nevertheless, the intention of an inclusive school has not yet reached far enough to include children with intellectual disabi lities (ID), who follow an alternate curricula of the compulsory school for students with disabilities (CSSID). In many cases, they are fabricated as living their future life in the margins. A study following up on 12,269 students with ID showed that 47% p articipated in daily activities; 22.4% were employed, most of them with some type of wage subsidy; 6.6% participated in various forms of education programs; and a large group (24%) was described as being “elsewhere” (Arvidsson, 2016). From an inclusive edu cation perspective, these results indicates the CSSID and the overall fabrication of this kind of child prepares them for a life in the margins rather than preparing them for a life in an included society. The social epistemology regarding inclusion can be traced to the complex and difficult history people with intellectual disability has, a history including institutionalization, sterilization exclusion from public schooling, and segregation in public schools.
Bibliography Arvidsson, J. (2016). Sysselsättn ing och social rättvisa: En Nationell Registerstudie om 12,269 unga vuxna med intellektuell funktionsnedsättning [Postschool occupation and social justice: A National Registry study about 12,269 young adults with intellectual disability]. Doctoral dissert University
Brossard Børhaug, F & Reindal, S.M (2018). ation, Halmstad Hvordan forstå inkludering som allmenpedagogisk prinsipp i en transhumanistisk (fram)tid? Utbildning & Demokrati, 27(1), 81
Popkewitz, T. (2012). Numbers in grids of intelligibility:97) making sense of how educational truth is told. In H. Lauder, M. Young, H. Daniels, M. Balarin & J. Lowe, (Eds), Educating for the Knowledge Economy? Critical Perspectives, (pp. 169191). Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
Popkewitz, T. (2014). Social Epistemology, the Reason of "Reason" and the Curriculum Studies. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 22(22), 23


ConferenceInternational Standing Conference for the History of Education (ISCHE), Berlin / School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University
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  • Pedagogy (50301)

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