Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

    Radical inclusive pedagogy: connecting disability, education and activisim

    Greenstein, Anat (2013) Radical inclusive pedagogy: connecting disability, education and activisim. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

    Download (4MB) | Preview


    This thesis combines ideas from disability studies and inclusive education debates, as well as critiques of mainstream schooling from critical pedagogy (e.g. Freire, 1972a; McLaren, 2009) and progressive education approaches (e.g. Darling & Nordenbo, 2002; Holt, 1983) to suggest a framework of radical inclusive pedagogy. The imperative for developing this framework is based on two main arguments; firstly, I argue for the understanding of education as a political process that can serve to reify or challenge the social order (Freire, 1972b; Giroux, 1981; McLaren, 2009). This view shifts debates about (inclusive) education from technical issues of resources and teaching methods to political and value-laden questions about the goals and aims of education (Slee, 1997). Secondly, adopting the social model assertion that disability is not an individual trait but rather the result of social processes of disablement (Oliver, 1990a; Thomas, 1999), I argue that educational theories and practices that are geared towards social justice and inclusion need to recognise and value the diversity of human embodiments, needs and capacities, and to foster pedagogical practices that promote rhizomatic relations of interdependency (Allan, 2008; Goodley, 2007a; Kittay, Jennings, & Wasunna, 2005), rather than focusing on independence and rationality. A key aspect of the thesis is its prefigurative approach, which stresses the need to simultaneously resist the social order and build alternatives from within (Gordon, 2008). This leads to the argument that the disabled people’s movement is in itself a site of radical inclusive pedagogy, as it supports disabled people in analysing social structures in order to resist their oppression. Further, the insistence on prefigurative research meant looking for ways to engage with disabled students in ways that resist the adult-child hierarchies of the school. The use of playful creative methods (including art, drama and comics) in workshops that were aimed at designing “the best school in the world” allowed for more flexible power relations, and provided an accessible context to foster participants’ engagement in reflexive discussions about social norms and values, thus transgressing the primacy of language and rationality in educational research. Findings from interviews with activists in the disabled people’s movement and from the ethnographic work in a “special needs unit” within a mainstream school were synthesised to suggest four key aspects of radical inclusive pedagogy: the need to value difference and resist practices that seek to make all students follow a uniform, linear and predefined educational path; the need to understand education as a complex and on-going relational process that values interdependence rather than independence; the need to contextualise learning in diverse aspects of experience as a way of supporting conscientization and accessibility; and the need to promote dialogue between teachers and students and resist authoritarian school practices.

    Impact and Reach


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics for this dataset are available via IRStats2.

    Repository staff only

    Edit record Edit record