The SAGE Handbook of Special Education brings together the most up to date knowledge of this area and will serve as the major source book of authoritative information and ideas about current and future directions for special education. It aims to examine the intricate relations between theory, research, and practice, and places a particular emphasis on international policies such as Education for All, and inclusive education as a strategy for achieving it. This comprehensive, research-based work, assembles scholarship on an international level, and covers topics that transcend national boundaries.

A Sociology of Special Education

A sociology of special education


This chapter identifies social theories currently in play in the field of special education, drawing on literature from Scotland, the wider UK, Europe, North America and Australia. Particular reference is made to the Scottish policy context, placed within a wider UK and national context. An underlying assumption is that theories of special/additional support needs and disability are crucial in terms of understanding policy responses in school and the wider society. As Kirp (1982) noted, the way in which a ‘social problem’ is constructed says a great deal about how it will be resolved. In an earlier paper (Riddell, 1996), I suggested that the following sociological perspectives were in evidence: essentialist, social constructionist, materialist, postmodern and disability rights. ...

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