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“Coming Out Crip” in Inclusive Education


by Nirmala Erevelles — 2011

Background/Context: The author argues that within inclusive education’s almost obsessive focus on space, there is a tendency to ignore the ideological assumptions that undergird the curricular and extracurricular practices in schools that serve to construct certain student subjectivities as deviant, disturbing, and dangerous, thereby justifying their exclusion.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: Sexuality is one such discourse that challenges naïve notions of inclusion. Heteronormative in its ideological content, discourses of sexuality, being both restricted and restrictive, play a critical role in defining the “normal” child, while at the same time intervening in the most personal/private space of intimacy. The pregnant teen, the lesbian gay bisexual transsexual questioning intersex (LGBTQI) young adult, and the disabled student are some examples of children and youth for whom the mere expression of their sexuality casts them as abnormal. Thus, the author examines the dominant discourses of sexuality in the school curriculum from the critical standpoint of disability studies.

Research Design: Analytic essay.

Data Collection and Analysis: The author demonstrates how discourses of sexuality rely on the ideology of the “normate” to segregate, to exclude, and to dehumanize those sexual subjects who disregard the rules of normativity.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Transformative possibilities in “coming out crip” for inclusive education are discussed.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 113 Number 10, 2011, p. 2155-2185
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 16429, Date Accessed: 12/22/2014 2:45:55 AM

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About the Author
  • Nirmala Erevelles
    University of Alabama
    NIRMALA EREVELLES is associate professor of social foundations of education and instructional leadership at the University of Alabama. Her research and publications are in the areas of disability studies, multicultural education, feminism, and sociology of education. She has published articles in several journals such as Educational Theory, Studies in Education and Philosophy, the Journal of Curriculum Studies, Disability & Society, and the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, among others. Her book, Disability and Difference in Global Contexts: Towards a Transformative Body Politic will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
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