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The Inclusion Delusion?

Reflections on Democracy, Ethos and Education

Edited By Aislinn O'Donnell

It may seem self-evident that a democratic society ought to develop inclusive institutions and an inclusive educational system, yet when we try to define what we understand by inclusion, its complexity becomes apparent. This book does not seek to diminish that complexity but aims to deepen our understanding of the idea and ideals of inclusion, as well as examining the presuppositions, values, aims and blind-spots associated with the language of inclusion. What do we mean by the concept? What normative assumptions underpin discourses of inclusion? What happens when we fail to think about the unintended consequences of including those who were previously excluded? Is there an implicit ideal of ‘normality’ at play? Does the concept of inclusion foreclose interrogation of patterns of privilege and power?
This book argues that in order to develop just and inclusive institutions we must begin from the standpoint of those who feel silenced, marginalised and excluded. Responding to the context of Irish education, it makes an important contribution to ongoing debates in Ireland and internationally about how institutions need to change if they are to become genuinely inclusive.
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Notes on Contributors


SUSAN BIRCH is the Programme Co-Director for the Doctorate in Educational Psychology at University College London. She is also a senior educational psychologist with Buckinghamshire Educational Psychology Service. Her current interests include working with schools to support the emotional health and well-being of children and young people, specifically Nurture Groups and developing nurture provision within schools in Buckinghamshire and the Pyramid programme (a programme devised by Kaye Fitzherbert and supported by the University of West London). Susan is an AVIG-UK accredited VIG Guider and is training as a VIG supervisor.

TONY BONFIELD is a lecturer in Philosophy of Education at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. His research interests include the exploration and analysis of concepts pertinent to social inclusion and exclusion in education, national and international identities as embedded in curriculum, the investigation of aspects of comparative education, and the review of a range of concepts attending the nature of educational studies when conceptualized as a field of knowledge. He has worked at many levels of education, including considerable experience in the primary sector.

ANGELA CANNY is a sociologist and is a graduate of University College Dublin and the University of Warwick. She teaches sociology and research methodology at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at Mary Immaculate College. She has received academic awards from the Combat Poverty Agency and the UK Economic and Social Research Council. She is also a Marie Curie Fellow, having received this award for her PhD research. She has previously published work...

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