chapter  8
Special educational needs and disability
Categorisation and naming
ByDeborah Robinson
Pages 10

This chapter explores England's policy for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). It discusses the relationship between categorisation, naming and power within social and educational systems. The chapter also explores the nature and scope of this debate with particular reference to the concepts of inequality and biopower, the dilemma of difference and the inclusion phobia. Potential solutions are explored while a case study illustrates the manner in which educational practitioners may mediate labels and categories in ways that foreground the uniqueness and capacities of individual children. Disability theorists have demonstrated sustained interest in the oppressive dynamic of naming and categorising. They also become a focus for intervention and correction as the state is licensed to intrude upon their physiological and psychological space. Goodey argues that the label learning disability is conventionally regarded as a permanent and natural state, identified by an objective system of measurement based on 'reliable' scientific accounts of classifiable human difference.