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Incessant Agitations: Inclusive Education and the Politics of Disposability

Tamara Handy (Stanford University, USA)

Reading Inclusion Divergently

ISBN: 978-1-80071-371-0, eISBN: 978-1-80071-370-3

Publication date: 12 December 2022


The established global understanding of inclusive education often positions the antithesis of inclusion as segregation, exclusion, marginalisation and its multiple variants. Drawing local articulations from Sri Lanka, this chapter positions the politics of disposability as the primary agitator of inclusive education. The purpose of this chapter is to describe the ways in which disposability is constructed within school systems by imposing deficit frames on students deemed disposable while simultaneously using the same to provide escape routes to those who are deemed worthy. As a result, these realities perpetuate the politics of disposability which incessantly pummels progress toward inclusive education, calling into question established tenets of inclusive education. This chapter draws from a study conducted in Sri Lanka using critical institutional ethnographic inquiry and participatory action research. Specifically, this chapter highlights teacher narratives as commentary on the complex ways in which sociocultural, historical conditions shape their everyday decision making in communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Teachers and students described the ways in which students became constructed and confined to disposability based on their backgrounds and assumed deficits.



Handy, T. (2022), "Incessant Agitations: Inclusive Education and the Politics of Disposability", Amrhein, B. and Naraian, S. (Ed.) Reading Inclusion Divergently (International Perspectives on Inclusive Education, Vol. 19), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 77-91.



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