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Practicing Disability Studies in Education

Acting Toward Social Change


Edited By David J. Connor, Jan W. Valle and Chris Hale

Practicing Disability Studies in Education: Acting Toward Social Change celebrates the diversity of contemporary work being developed by a range of scholars working within the field of Disability Studies in Education (DSE). The central idea of this volume is to share ways in which educators practice DSE in creative and eclectic ways in order to rethink, reframe, and reshape the current educational response to disability. Largely confined to the limitations of traditional educational discourse, this collective (and growing) group continues to push limits, break molds, assert the need for plurality, explore possibilities, move into the unknown, take chances, strategize to destabilize, and co-create new visions for what can be, instead of settling for what is. Much like jazz musicians who rely upon one another on stage to create music collectively, these featured scholars have been – and continue to – riff with one another in creating the growing body of DSE literature. In sum, this volume is DSE «at work.»
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1. Exploring Some Moral Dimensions of the Social Model of Disability



Years of debate about the epistemological and ontological status of disability have ensued since the face-off between the long dominant medical versus the insurgent social models of disability (See for example: Anastasiou & Kauffman, 2010, 2011). In the midst of these disputes, disability studies scholars have further probed the sufficiency with which the social model of disability captures or represents the experience of disability (See for example: Crow, 1996; Davis, 2002; French, 1993; Shakespeare, 2006, 2014). These discussions, too, have revolved largely around questions of epistemology and ontology that have perhaps done as much to exhaust and divide as to illuminate and unite.

The purpose of this chapter is threefold. First, I put forth what I hope is a convincing case that the longstanding disputes over the epistemological and ontological status of disability are, at this point, unavailing, and that we would be far better served simply to regard disability explicitly as a moral category. This approach, I suspect, has the potential to expand the emancipatory impact of the social model. Second, I offer an exploration of three areas of moral philosophy in an effort to provide some initial context or scaffolding useful for engaging disability as a moral category. Finally, I discuss the three schools of moral philosophy in terms of their compatibility with the social model of disability and their implications for disability studies in education.

Moral philosophy, or ethics as it is most often referred to, is...

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