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ERIC Number: EJ896303
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0160-7561
Laggards, Labeling and Limitations: Re-Connecting Labeling Deviance Theory with Deweyan Pragmatism
Fitch, Frank
Philosophical Studies in Education, v41 p17-28 2010
John Dewey defines democracy as a form of associated living "in which the interests of a group are shared by all its members, and the fullness and freedom with which it interacts with other groups." Few would argue that people with disabilities have been among the most excluded, the least able to share in the fullness and freedom of "associated living." The publication of Leonard Ayres "Laggards in our Schools" in 1909 came at a time when the nation required schools to serve a much more diverse range of students. Since that time, special education has increasingly served as a way to manage heterogeneity by removing those categorized as "laggards," the "feeble minded" and most recently "exceptional" from the mainstream. This practice, grounded in scientific positivist assumptions and the bio-medical model of disability, continues to legitimate segregation and inequality and justify a dual system of special and general education. Demonstrating the socially constructed nature of difference/deviance, labeling deviance theory has played a crucial role in challenging this orientation, serving as one of the key conceptual foundations for the disability and inclusive education movements. Because it is disconnected from its pragmatist roots, however, it has been effectively distorted and appropriated within a positivist framework and then deployed within the field of education and beyond. In this paper, the author examines the nature of this disconnection and argues for reconnecting labeling deviance theory with its roots within a Deweyan pragmatist tradition. (Contains 38 footnotes.)
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A