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The Quest of Inclusion: Understandings of Ableism, Pedagogy and the Right To Belong



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The intent of this work is to explore how children, youth, and adults with disabilities are discriminated against in cultural systems, specifically the education system, and how the beliefs and structures encompassed in these systems create and recreate the phenomena of ableism. This study will explore the hegemony of ableism within school cultures by exposing prevailing discourses and the systems that enforce these discriminatory discourses and educational practices. Additionally, it will illustrate significant human rights infractions and discriminatory processes that keep disabled peoples throughout the world in states of marginalization and oppression. The analysis of this study shows resistance to the oppression of people with disabilities through the use of critical disability theory, legal theory, and social justice philosophy. In addition, the advancement of inclusive education as a human right is offered as a solution to the collective oppression and states of disenfranchisement that many disabled people’s experience. The exploration of moral and legal theory, equality jurisprudence, and libratory pedagogy will advance a collective human rights framework as an educational model for school cultures globally. This analysis will utilize an equality premise known as the “right to belong” to defend inclusive education as a fundamental human right. In support of this fundamental right, a theoretical base for inclusive pedagogies reveals how the deconstruction of hegemonic practices and, simultaneously, the development of transformative educational models of learning are necessary “best practices” in the pursuit of equality for all disabled students. This work concludes with recommendations for changes in educational leadership, philosophy, and research of education for disabled students.



social model of disability, eugenics, disability rights movement, ableism, critique of special education, inclusive education, human rights, medical model of disability, critical disability theory, belonging as a notion of equality, legal and moral theory, liberation pedagogies, rights of persons with disabilities



Master of Education (M.Ed.)


Educational Foundations


Educational Foundations


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