Learning Disability: Social Class and the Construction of Inequality in American Education

Learning Disability: Social Class and the Construction of Inequality in American Education

Learning Disability: Social Class and the Construction of Inequality in American Education

Learning Disability: Social Class and the Construction of Inequality in American Education

Synopsis

"This book was written for sociologists concerned with education, but should be read by anyone interested in learning disability as a concept, either from a practical or theoretical standpoint. It is especially recommended for special educators and other professionals concerned with children who experience difficulties in school learning, as well as for the parents of such children. . . . Carrier has written an intelligent, well-documented, and important book that should provoke a great deal of controversy for some time to come." Contemporary Sociology

Excerpt

I have prepared this history of learning disability for a readership of three distinct parts: sociologists of education interested in special education; teachers of sociology of education courses who want their students to look at special education; and special educators, educational psychologists, and their students involved with learning disability who are interested in a sociological approach to the topic. With this readership in mind, I have prepared a relatively brief book and I have avoided any extensive treatment of either sociological theory or the sociology of education, though I allude to issues in these fields. I assume that those familiar with these issues will understand the allusions and so see how this history bears on broader questions, while those who are unfamiliar with the sociology of education will be spared a long and almost certainly turgid presentation of controversies in the field.

The theoretical orientation around which I have organized this history is broadly Marxist, and I lean more in the structuralist direction than otherwise. I have drawn this orientation from the writings of the American literary critic and philosopher Kenneth Burke and Outline of a Theory of Practice byPierre Bourdieu (1977), a necessary foundation for his Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture (Bourdieu &Passeron, 1977), a book much more familiar to sociologists of education. My presentation also reflects the model of knowledge and power in Steven Lukes Power: a Radical View (1974) and the idea of myth as a natural-

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