DIS/ABILITY AND “SPECIAL
The issue of categorical boundaries and the process of labeling determine many contours of the phenomenon of disablement. Its significance derives from consequences of group belonging for every individual’s sense of self and identity. However, this “belonging” is often involuntary, and such categorical memberships are frequently stigmatized. Individual life courses are shaped by disciplinary discourses and professional actions, in many instances according to bureaucratic classificatory practices. Language also plays a central role in contemporary identity politics. Furthermore, the tremendous shifts over the past decades in categorical labels and their meanings require reflection on continuity and change, because the use of euphemistic and politically correct terms may deflect or subvert more substantive demands for equality and improvements in service delivery. Frequently, new categories are championed by a diverse set of interest groups. Battles ensue, as resources must be redistributed to meet newly defined, but authorized demands, such as “special educational needs.” Yet “far from being ‘scientific facts’ based on objective, universally understood definitions of difference, the categories and labels assigned in different societies are contingent, temporary, and subjective” (Barton and Armstrong 2001: 696; see also Chapters 6 and 8).
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Comparing Special Education: Origins to Contemporary Paradoxes. Contributors: John G. Richardson - Author, Justin J. W Powell - Author. Publisher: Stanford University Press. Place of publication: Stanford, CA. Publication year: 2011. Page number: ix.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.