chapter  Chapter 5
41 Pages

The Dramatistic Sequences of Special Education

A Theoretical Reflection
WithJohn G. Richardson

This chapter describes the historical genesis and non-normative expansion of special education and joins them by means of dramatistic sequences. Special education is particularly suitable to such a perspective, for the historical treatment of exceptional children, from the legality of their exemption to the mandate of their inclusion, is indeed an unfolding drama. A dramatistic analysis of special education focuses on the manner in which a prevailing Pedagogic Frame constructs our understandings of disability and difference in relation to common or public schooling. A “dramatistic history” of special education takes language as its primary source. An exemplary portrayal of the backward child as a mark of cultural distance is found in the works of Maximilian Groszmann, an early influential advocate for the education of exceptional children. The relation of delinquency and feeblemindedness had long been a part of both educational and popular thought.