Slee, R. (2001) Social justice and the changing directions in educational research

Slee, R. (2001)  Social justice and the changing directions in educational research: the case of inclusive education International Journal of Inclusive Education Vol. 5, Iss. 2-3, 2001

I found this a leading article on inclusion discourse.  It highlighted many misconceptions that I had about Special Education.  Whilst knowing how to diagnose and employ techniques is important it often facilitates the negating of inclusion practices.  reinforcing the label in turn prevents inclusion.


Inclusive education has established itself as an important element within the general field of educational research. While the increasing attention to social inclusion is apparently consistent with the general aspiration for social justice, this paper reasserts the fragility of inclusive education a sa vehicle for arguing against traditional notions of special educational needs in favour of educational disablement as identity politics. It is important that in a general consideration of education research and social justice space be afforded to interrogating the shortcomings of social justice research in education with regard to disabled students. This brief discussion aims to introduce a range of issues pursuant to the intersection of education and disability politics.

Key Points 

While they use a contemporary lexicon of inclusion, the cosmetic amendments to practices and procedures reflect assumptions about pathological defect and normality based upon a disposition of calibration and exclusion.

Appropriating the discourse of inclusion to deploy old assumptions about disability based uponquasi-medical pathologies of defectiveness to relocate its practice in regular schools and capture new clients

There is a misconception taking place. We are told that teacher education students will need to be become familiar with the range of syndromes, disorders and `defects’ that constitute the population of special educational needs students. Knowing these students and how we have developed techniques of dealing with them through special educational practices will make the regular teacher more inclusive. This is not true and does nothing more than solidifying the meaning of disability.

This is a paper concerned with human rights and the production and reproduction of meaning as it adheres to the intersection of disablement and education.