The Cultural Work of Learning Disabilities

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Culturally and educationally, the United States specializes in the production of kinds of persons described first by their ethnic, racial, and linguistic groups and second by their supposed mental abilities. Overlaps between the two systems of classification are frequent, systematically haphazard, and often deleterious. An examination of classrooms around the country shows shifting currents of concern and tension that invite the attribution of labels for mental and/or minority group status. This paper introduces a language for a cultural analysis--a language of people interpreting the interpretations of others-- and pursues an example from a classroom where both the good sense and the dangers of categories for LD and minority group status are on display.


Type of resource text
Date created 2006


Author McDermott, Ray
Author Goldman, Shelley
Author Varenne, Herve
Publisher Sage Publications


Subject culture
Subject Learning Disabilities
Genre Article

Bibliographic information

Related Publication McDermott, R., Goldman, S., & Varenne, H. (2006). The Cultural Work of Learning Disabilities. Education Researcher. 35: 12-17.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).


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