Getting inside histories of learning disabilities

Barden, Owen (2021) Getting inside histories of learning disabilities. Educational Action Research. ISSN Print ISSN: 0965-0792 Online ISSN: 1747-5074

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This paper reports on the novel methodology used in a participatory project called ‘Inside the History of Learning Disabilities.’ Through engaging learning-disabled people as co-researchers with valuable insider knowledge and expertise to share, the project sought to disrupt hegemonic discourses around both the history of ’learning disabilities’, and of the lived experience of learning disabilities today. The overall objective was to make an important contribution to the growing field of interdisciplinary and emancipatory research about learning disabilities. The year-long project used a bespoke, two-step methodology in addressing this objective, combining archival research with a series of participatory focused workshops. Traditional methods and academic expertise in archival research and textual analysis were combined with less orthodox approaches to elicit insider knowledge about learning disabilities, which was then expressed in a range of ways. These expressions provide preliminary indications of how emancipatory and transformational research aims may be met. The paper makes a contribution to the discourse around new and emerging action research methodologies which seek to promote social justice. It describes away to not only recognise and challenge the oppression and exclusion encountered by disabled people, but to advocate for appreciation of disability and the insider-knowledge learning-disabled people have.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Educational Action Research on March 19th, 2021 available online:
Keywords: learning disability, disability, history, emancipatory, methodology, participatory
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Social Science
Depositing User: Owen Barden
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2021 16:58
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2021 09:04

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