Acting Toward Social Change
Edited By David J. Connor, Jan W. Valle and Chris Hale
10. Critiquing Policy: Limitations and Possibilities
“There are times in life when the question of knowing if one can think differently than one thinks, and perceive differently than one sees, is absolutely necessary if one is to go on looking and reflecting at all.”
—Foucault, (1985, p. 8)
Bruno Latour (2004) suggests that our critical spirit has “run out of steam” (p. 225), and we have become like mechanical toys, endlessly repeating the same gesture, trying to conquer territories that no longer exist whilst being unprepared for the “new threats, new dangers, new tasks, new targets” (ibid.) that we face. This chapter will examine the limited success of critique of educational policy and will consider the specific contexts of Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, each with different educational traditions and trajectories but with some convergences in patterns of critique. Latour calls urgently for progress towards “a fair position” and for the development of “new critical tools” to work positively and constructively towards social change. The potential of analytical resources, derived from within disability studies in education and through its orientation to the humanities, to deliver acceptable and appropriate critique and to mobilise political action will be explored.
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