Lessons in Critical Avoidance

Penketh, Claire and Waite, Laura (2015) Lessons in Critical Avoidance. In: Disability Avoidance and the Academy. Routledge Advances in Disability Studies . Routledge, Oxon, pp. 68-78.

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In the chapter we explore the relatively recent emergence of ‘special educational needs’ as a field of study in higher education, and examine it as a site for what has been termed critical avoidance (Bolt, 2012). Building on the work of Moore and Slee (2012), we chart the development of ‘special education’ as a discourse that dominates the study of disability and education in higher education in the United Kingdom, and question whether the failure to engage with critical disability theory, via disability studies, equates to critical avoidance.
Our concern is that this avoidance constitutes a diminution of criticality for students whose ‘successful’ education is dependent on developing critical capacities. We contend that critical avoidance in this context is evidenced in the pursuit of academic achievement that fails to recognise the social responsibility implied by a university education. However, we go further to argue
that a curriculum that actively critiques the foundations of ‘special’ education as both discriminatory and as a site for social justice offers the potential for enhancing criticality.

Item Type: Book Section
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Disability and Education
Depositing User: Laura WAITE
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2017 16:35
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2017 16:35
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2193

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