Accepted paper:

Reflections on disability in the relationships of a special school of secondary education in Greek society


Lazaros Tentomas (Greek Ministry of Education)

Paper short abstract:

This ethnography examines the sociocultural and political influences in a special education school in Greece.

Paper long abstract:

This anthropological research was conducted in a special school of secondary education in Athens, a school which provides education to approximately seventy students with motor and/or cognitive impairments. The anthropologist and researcher is a disabled person as well as a teacher at the particular school, so teaching and research are interrelated with a higher aim of discussing and analyzing the most significant parameters of perceiving disability in Greece. In pursuit of this aim, a theoretical frame of the social model of disability is used critically combined with a phenomenological dimension of existence as it converses with Foucault's theory on authority. It concerns a complex theoretical effort which intersects with ethnographic data by demonstrating that to a large extent, experience of disability in Greece emerges under the prism of a subjective and personal experience. This results in that the special school is not led to collective actions which are different from the ones of descriptive logic. The special school reproduces reflections of common sense on disability where every resistance remains on a personal level of appreciation. Consequently, as public speaking is concerned, disability is presented partially in its sketchy details when referred to general predetermined images which conceal the impact of other parameters that are related to the characteristics of the educational system in Greece and how it converses with the general socio-political scenery of the country.

panel P67
Anthropology in and of education: implications for representations of human nature