Researching Special Schools: A Poststructuralist Approach
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Bronwyn Davies and Cath Laws
This work involves developing the capacity to apply poststructuralism in a place where other
discourses are dominant. I examine the educational practices used in a special school for those students
who are read as unmanageable and too violent to be maintained in mainstream/regular schooling. In this
chapter, I examine ways of collecting data in a poststructural frame, and ways of making the discursive
practices of the special school more visible. I discuss the difficulties of working in a poststructuralist
way and examine issues of anonymity for the students who were part of my study. I then discuss the
theoretical framework, which is particularly informed by the work of Foucault. During the period of my
study, I was the principal of the school in which the study was undertaken.
education, disability, Foucault, special schools, poststructuralist research, deconstruction,
emotional and behavioural disorders, binary/binaries.
University of Melbourne Australia.