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Special Issue Call for Papers: Education, Childhood and Disability in Countries of the South: Re-positioning the Debates

There are greater numbers of people with disabilities living in developing economies in comparison to the developed, and in both these settings, those living in poverty are disproportionately represented amongst the world’s poor. Youth with disabilities are generally unemployed and live far below the poverty line. Education as a pathway of moving out of poverty has long been acknowledged.This special issue will explore ways in which the goal of quality education for children and youth (up to 18 years) with disabilities is grounded in the normative, socio-cultural, political and economic realities of Southern countries.

Over the last two decades or so, in many countries of the South, developments in relation to the education of children with disabilities have been shaped by international instruments and frameworks, such as the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action (UNESCO, 1994) and
Millennium Development Goals (UN, 2000). There has been an increasing emphasis on adopting rights-based approaches in education. Furthermore, the rhetoric of inclusive education has also gained significant prominence. Countries such as Ghana, India and South Africa have all crafted inclusive policies and frameworks with the support of global NGOs and donor countries, which have been applauded in various international forums. However, in more recent years, experiences within these countries have shown that translating the vision of rights based, inclusive education provision into practice is fraught with contextual tensions, contradictions and dilemmas. Nonetheless, there has been a tendency to overlook these fissures, and an inability to engage in culturally and contextually sensitive debates. Therefore, there is a growing need to critically re-examine some of the assumptions that have underpinned international instruments which have shaped legislation, policies and practices in Southern contexts. It is now becoming critical to engage with the experiences of stakeholders within these settings to construct truly inclusive pathways for moving forward.

This special issue will explore ways in which the goal of quality education for children and youth (up
to 18 years) with disabilities is grounded in the normative, socio-cultural, political and economic
realities of Southern countries. This special issue aims to focus on three main questions:
  • What assumptions inform the personal and collective philosophies of efforts shaping the education for children and youth with disabilities in Southern countries?
  • In what ways are current educational provisions for children and young people with disabilities equitable and socially just?
  • How do socio-cultural, political and economic factors impact the implementation of rights based education policies in countries of the South?
Some of the key themes which we will be seeking to address are:
• Examination of intersectionalities of poverty, race, class, caste, gender, ethnicity and geographical
variations in the education of disabled children;
Special Issue of Childhood

• Early childhood intervention: challenges and opportunities for education and care;
• The complexities of achieving inclusive and equitable educational curricula, pedagogies and processes in a range of settings - mainstream, special, non-formal and alternative schemes;
• Importance of schooling in shaping children’s identities, sense of belonging, civic engagement and participation in the labour market;
• The politics of collaborative networks, such as teachers, parents and community;
• Critical analysis of international partnerships, donor commitment and action;
• Ethical and methodological dimensions of disability research;
• Cultural constructions of disability and implications for education.

The above list is not exhaustive and we encourage contributors to be creative and reflective in their interpretation of education and Southern realities. Our aim is that this special issue will invite researchers and scholars from across a range of disciplines and socio-cultural contexts, and generate scholarly debate relating to education, childhood and disability in countries of the South. The issue will be published in 2014.
Submissions should be made online at When submitting papers online, contributors should place a tick for Special Issue, and indicate the title of the special issue. Maximum word length is 7000 words, including all notes and references. The final deadline for receipt of papers is 1 May 2013. For further guidance please read the Guidance for contributors available on the journal website <>
Childhood is a major international peer reviewed journal with an impact factor of 1.100 for 2011. It is listed on the International Bibliography for Social Sciences (IBSS) and the ISI Web of Science list.
Guest editors

Dr Nidhi Singal, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ, United Kingdom.
Email: sn241(at) Research interests: inclusive education; disability; social justice; Southern educational research.
Professor Nithi Muthukrishna, School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, P. Bag X03, Ashwood. 3605. Durban. South Africa.
Email: muthukr(at) Research interests: disability studies; social inclusion/exclusion; diversity in education; children’s geographies.
Tags: ["call for papers", "child research", "youth research", "children with disabilities", "poverty", "education"]
Published Jan. 31, 2013 12:30 PM - Last modified Apr. 17, 2013 3:26 PM