chapter  9
37 Pages

The Hunt for Disability

The New Eugenics and the Normalization of School Children 1
WithBernadette Baker

This chapter attempts to reconsider issues of sameness, difference, equality, and democracy in present public school systems. It focuses on the question of disability and the implications of disability as an ontological issue before its inscription as an educational one concerning the politics of inclusion. The chapter is concerned with understanding and rethinking the everyday dividing, sorting, and classifying practices of schooling through an analysis of old and new discourses of eugenics as 'quality control' of national populations. It suggests that eugenics was a complicated and heterogeneous series of discourses that have transmogrified into a variety of assumptions and practices, including educational ones in the present. The chapter examines the debates that have arisen around the classificatory systems for identifying disability, both outside and within schooling. It considers where such an analysis leaves institutions of formal education and the very difficult question of trying to imagine alternatives to sending the posse out in schools.