This chapter demonstrates that, as much of what happens in social life is the product of conflict power struggles between vested interests and attempts at domination special education must not be regarded as an exception, and that special education policies and practices can be usefully analyzed from radical structuralist perspectives. It concentrates on development of special education in Britain to illustrate the argument. From structuralist perspectives it is possible to regard the development of special education as a 'safety valve' for the rest of the system. This can be illustrated by a brief examination of the origins of special education in both Britain and the United States. As special education expands, it is providing both a rationale and a justification for at least a part of this group. Radical structuralist perspectives in special education are concerned with a macro-analysis of the relationship of special education to other parts of the educational system and to other institutions, notably the economy.