ERIC Number: ED165438
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Nov
Labeling Versus Stigma: A Typology of Deviance in Special Education. Working Paper No. 814.
The paper offers an analysis of how the misclassification of school children as cognitively disabled for placement in public school special education classes may have positive as well as negative consequences. This approach is used to criticize the sort of unilateral prohibition of misclassification mandated by the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142). Architects of the Act are seen to argue that misclassification inevitably causes stigmatization and other ill effects. The paper shows that to understand the experience of failure for the full range of children encountered in schools, one must take the degree of disability, the occurence of official identification, and the acceptance of stigmatization by students as three distinct and independent variables. The intersection of the three variables is noted to provide an eight-cell typology. Examples of each type drawn from the author's ethnographic studies of special education programs in public schools are offered to show that one of the cells are empty. It is concluded that banning misclassification protects children in some of the cells but at the cost of harming children in other cells. (Author/SBH)
Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Yale Univ., New Haven, CT. Inst. for Social and Policy Studies.
Note: Paper presented at the American Sociological Association Meeting (San Francisco, California, 1978)