Lisa Pfahl: Technologies of the Disabled Self. The discourse of learning disability, Germany’s special schools and students’ educational biographies
2011, 276 p.
In Germany, about one in twenty students of compulsory school age is classified as having special educational needs. In terms of educational outcomes, eighty percent of special school-leavers receive no secondary school credential that qualifies them to go on to postsecondary education.
This not only disadvantages and stigmatizes them as they attempt to transition from school to work but also hinders their long-term social and political participation.
The aim of the study is to go further than traditional life-course approaches and to not only describe life course regime and biographical experiences, but to demonstrate how knowledge, institutional arrangements and practitioners’ as well as students’ strategies intersect in a process which produces learning disability as objective and subjective realities and stabilizes the German system of segregated special schooling. This book combines interpretive analyses of biographies and an analysis of the interests and knowledge strategies; it sheds light on the strong influence of experts and practitioners on the students’ self-identities and beliefs.
Lisa Pfahl (Dr. phil.) is a sociologist; her research focuses on education, sociology of knowledge and social inequality. At the University of Bremen, Department of Educational Sciences, she is director of the Inclusion Research Centre and Deputy Professor of Inclusive Education.