Special School-Leavers Transitioning from School to Work. Discursive and Biographical Constructions of Learning Disability
The working title of Lisa Pfahl's dissertation is „Special School-Leavers Transitioning from School to Work. Discursive and Biographical Constructions of Learning Disability”. This research project reconstructs how discursive knowledge of disability contributed to institutionalisation of educational inequality. Special schools also shape the interactive constitution of the self and biographical action. At the center of this inquiry is how — and if — individuals with less education achieve agency in the German educational system. The educational system is conceptualized as an instance of subjectivation, which I analyze in a twofold manner. Firstly, I recount the discourses of academic special education theorists and practitioners. This line of analysis reveals the strategic meanings of separation practices in the five-tiered German educational system. Secondly, I interpret hermeneutically the occupational biographies of special school leavers to understand their agency as well as their adaptation of special education discourses. Ultimately, the research concentrates the consequences of low education for young adults with so-called learning disability on their life courses, on their subjective experiences, and on their selves.