Understanding reason in policy reform: engaging 'problematic' families

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Macfarlane, Kym
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Roger Slee
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2010
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Abstract

This paper seeks to examine current policy reforms that situate education as a means of addressing social inclusion. Borrowing from the work of Popkewitz and Lindblad, the paper takes the form of a cross-disciplinary literature review that informs understanding of the relationship between educational governance and social inclusion/exclusion in policy research in Australia. To do so, the author examines the assumptions, omissions and contradictions in policy direction via two problematics - the engagement problematic and the early intervention and prevention problematic - to emphasise how policy discourse produces ways of thinking about inclusion/exclusion. The author argues that discourses of engagement and intervention and prevention reinscribe each other, acting as a palimpsest which produces notions of the 'proper' family and 'proper' participation. These notions of propriety ironically exclude particular types of individuals and families by situating them outside of possibilities for 'success' in social and systemic participation. Therefore, the author seeks to examine the 'systems of reason' that enable these discursively produced notions of propriety to become normalised.

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International Journal of Inclusive Education
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Social Change
Specialist Studies in Education
Sociology
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