The Hunt for Disability: The New Eugenics and the Normalization of School Children
by Bernadette Baker — 2002
This paper is an attempt to reconsider issues of sameness, difference, equality, and democracy in present public school systems. It focuses on the question of (dis)ability and the implications of rethinking (dis)ability as an ontological issue before its inscription as an educational one concerning the politics of inclusion. The everyday dividing, sorting, and classifying practices of schooling are reconsidered through an analysis of old and new discourses of eugenics as “quality control” of national populations. The paper suggests that in the transmogrification of old to new eugenic discourses, disability becomes reinscribed as an outlaw ontology reinvesting eugenic discourse in a new language that maintains an ableist normativity. The paper concludes by considering the very difficult question of trying to imagine alternatives to sending the posse out in schools.
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