chapter  3
Inclusive education in the globalization age: the promise of a comparative cultural-historical analysis ALFREDO A RT ILES AND ALAN DYS O N
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In this chapter, we wish to explore a tension that is at the heart of all attempts to trace international ‘movements’ in education. On the one hand, such movements are recognizable as international precisely because different national systems begin to show similar features at the same time. On the other hand, whenever these apparent similarities are examined in detail, they tend to dissolve into the local forms and practices that characterize different national contexts. Inclusive education clearly is one such international movement, contributing, as it does, a significant dimension to the education policies of countries across the world and supported, as it is, by international declarations and international organizations (UNESCO, 1994; 1999; 2001). There is, therefore, a very real sense in which inclusive education constitutes what one group of commentators has called ‘a global agenda’ (Pijl et al., 1997). At the same time, however, it is equally clear that the forms of educational practice that are labelled as ‘inclusive education’ have a strongly local flavour. The inclusion efforts of the affluent Western democracies, where well resourced segregated forms of special education are being merged with equally well resourced regular education, seem to be quite different from those of many economically poorer countries where special education has never been fully developed and where regular education is desperately lacking in resources. This is, of course, quite apart from the differences in the scope and definition of special education in different countries, or the exclusion and marginalization of different groups of learners in different countries and regions.