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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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Conclusion: All That Jazz: Using Disability Studies in Education to (Re)Envision the Applied Field of (Special) Education


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All That Jazz: Using Disability Studies in Education to (Re)Envision the Applied Field of (Special) Education


We began this volume with a note on the cover art and how we believe work within DSE is very much like jazz. In this concluding chapter, we provide a synthesis of the “work of the ensemble” as represented in the preceding chapters.

As editors, we solicited manuscripts from a range of DSE scholars who could speak to their ongoing work in the areas of theory, research, practice, and policy. As discussed elsewhere, disability studies in education (DSE) grew out of disability studies (DS). In other words, DSE scholars seek to apply the tenets of DS within the context of education. DSE scholars rely upon ideas from the humanities as do DS scholars; however, education is considered an “applied field” (like, for example, social work and nursing) because of its preparation and enculturation of professionals to enter the field and its ongoing “professional development” for those working in the field. It is this professional community that DSE scholars hope to influence in areas such as teacher education, pedagogy, institutional structures, curricula, parent-school relations, and the professional literature.

The Work of the Ensemble

Much like sections of a jazz band, members who subscribe to the ideals of DSE “play” (and write) within the sections of...

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