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What is the meaning of special education?: Problem representations in Swedish policy documents: late 1970s-2014
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Sociologiska institutionen, Uppsala universitet.
2015 (English)In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 30, no 1, 122-137 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, as in many other countries, inclusion has been on the political agenda for a long time and has served as a blueprint and guiding principle for practical work in school. However, inclusive education has, by and large, been associated with special education measures, which seriously limit the chances of achieving the vision of inclusion. In this article, we analyse how the meaning of special education is constructed in policy documents from four distinct time periods of Swedish education policy from the late 1970s to 2014. The paper draws on an approach to scrutinise the process of problematisation in public policy making. Based on the analysis, we argue that there are prospects of a hegemonic intervention regarding the meaning of special education during later years in Swedish education policy, emphasising an individual perspective and individual deficiencies. In contrast to inclusive ambitions, this perspective advocate segregated support measures. Finally, based on previous research and tendencies within the field, we present arguments in the concluding discussion why this hegemonic intervention in education policy also might attract the support of school personnel at the local school level and some potential consequences of the expansion of special education in Sweden

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxfordshire: Taylor & Francis, 2015. Vol. 30, no 1, 122-137 p.
Keyword [en]
Special education, Inclusion, Education policy, Sweden, Compulsory school
National Category
Social Work Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-92719DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2014.964920OAI: diva2:742433
Available from: 2014-09-01 Created: 2014-09-01 Last updated: 2015-05-21Bibliographically approved

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Isaksson, Joakim
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