Inclusive education policies: Discourses of difference, diversity and deficit

Ian Hardy*, Stuart Woodcock

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    119 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper provides an analysis of inclusive education policies across international, and Anglo-American national and provincial/state jurisdictions to reveal how policies discursively construct inclusion under current, increasingly neoliberal conditions. In making this case, the paper draws upon primary UNESCO and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development policies, and a selection of key policies in United States, Canada, England and Australia. To explore whether and how these policies discursively encourage inclusion under such conditions, the paper employs a broadly critical policy sociology approach. The research reveals a disparate array of approaches to issues of inclusion within and across specific policy contexts. Fostering more systematic and supportive inclusive policies is possible and essential for promoting conditions for more genuinely inclusive educational practices, but a lack of attention to issues of inclusion in policy settings also reveals how more neoliberal conditions have also influenced policy production processes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)141-164
    Number of pages24
    JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


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