Term of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Grigory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 1

Elizabeth Butterfield

Committee Member 2

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 3

Robert Lake

Committee Member 3 Email



Although curriculum theorists have sought to examine the subjective practices imposed within the context of schooling in terms of class, gender, and race, the impact of disability as a social category has been absent from the field. In this work, postmodern analysis is applied to the concept of disability in field of education; first, in terms of the nature and effects of the practices educators employ to define normality, and secondly, in the constitution of the students who deviate from the norm as subjects. The techniques and procedures of investigation, surveillance, exclusion, treatment, confinement, and medicalization developed and engaged in the professional educational arena when applied to the structures of education reveal the need to recognize and reconcile the impact of the contradiction between the democratic ideals and bureaucratic practices of citizenship. Thus, this examination of the knowledge tradition which led educators and practitioners to believe in the legitimacy of their discourses thereby deconstructs these shared beliefs by exposing the inconsistencies, contradictions, and silences contained in their knowledge for the purpose of clearing the way for restructuring them in a manner that avoids unintended negative consequences. Doubts as to the legitimacy of these educational structures are evidentiary within the analysis, and present the value in recognition and reconciliation of the contradiction between the democratic ideals and bureaucratic practices of education. Special educators are charged with finding the courage and insight to deconstruct and continuously reconstruct their professional knowledge, as well as seek and bond with other committed and convicted colleagues to do the same within this scope.

Research Data and Supplementary Material