Special education as social control : the historical development of industrial schools and special classes : a thesis submitted to the Education Department, Massey Univeristy [i.e. University] in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts
This thesis represents an attempt to go beyond the largely descriptive surveys of previous histories of special education in New Zealand. The argument presented is that special education can be seen as a form of social control. The problem of who is selected for special education and the accompanying rhetoric is examined. It is argued that the definition of children as exceptional (deviant) and the consequent treatment of them constitutes a form of social control. Further, that the medical model has been the dominating influence in defining what is to be regarded as deviance, and has therefore, functioned as a form of that control. To illustrate how an historical analysis of special education in New Zealand can be informed through a sociological perspective, an analysis of the provisions for neglected and criminal children, and the establishment and subsequent development of special classes for backward children is presented.