The Incidental "Other": A Foucaultian interrogation of educational policy effects

Graham, Linda J. (2005) The Incidental "Other": A Foucaultian interrogation of educational policy effects. In American Educational Research Association Conference, April 11th to 16th, Montreal.


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The Department of Education in the Australian state of Queensland promotes inclusiveness and states a commitment to all students achieving to their full potential (Inclusive Learning, 2004, p.17). Paradoxically, comprehensive review and analysis of Queensland Government education department policy (Ascertainment Procedures, 2002; Defining Students with Disabilities, 2001; Inclusive Education: Students with Disabilities, 2004; Ministerial Taskforce on Inclusive Education, 2004), indicates the vision of inclusive education is subordinate to the problematic of ‘inclusion as calculus’ (Ware, 2002, p.149), as demonstrated by Queensland’s preoccupation with the logistics of placing and resourcing disabled children in mainstream schools.

The aim of this paper is to begin to consider the implications of conceptualising inclusive education via such limited notions of inclusion, by questioning what effects the practices involved might have upon those children whose difference remains outside institutionally “recognised‿ forms of Otherness . Interestingly the psychiatric category at the foci of this discussion, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or “ADHD‿, is not recognised within either the learning disability or disability categories eligible for educational support in the state of Queensland. Such avoidance through the non-recognition of ADHD/behaviour disorder is remarkable given that the diagnostic rate of ADHD is increasing across all states in Australia at an exponential rate (Davis et al., 2001; OECD, 2003; Prosser et al., 2002; Swan, 2000), as is the concomitant prescription rate for stimulant medication (Mackey & Kopras, 2001). It appears then that any role schooling plays in the psycho-pathologisation of children (Panksepp, 1998; Thomas & Glenny, 2000) is, at least in the Queensland context, implicit in nature since there is no formal identification process similar to those for identifying and classifying disability (Ascertainment Procedures, 2002; EAP, 2004) or learning disability (Appraisement Intervention, 2001), to which one can attribute responsibility for locating ADHD/behaviour disorder in Queensland school children. Utilising a conceptual framework derived from the work of Foucault, this paper engages with this problematic to question what processes and practices might inform the construction of "disorderly" schooling identities and further, may work to legitimise the differential treatment of such children within the Queensland educational context.

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ID Code: 1127
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: This conference paper will be published in the International Journal of Inclusive Education, (2006) Vol.10, Issue 1:
Keywords: Foucault, ADHD, education policy, inclusive education, inclusion, disability, learning disability, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, behaviour disorder, discourse, exclusion, behaviour management, poststructural research methodology, social construction
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Educational Administration Management and Leadership (130304)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SPECIFIC FIELDS (220200) > History and Philosophy of Education (220202)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 American Educational Research Association
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 15 Dec 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:24

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