Discourse, power interplays and ‘disordered identities’: an intersectional framework for analysis and policy development
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While acknowledging the discursive constitution of student identities through the interplay of unequal power relations and discriminatory processes, the article discusses the ways in which social, emotional and behaviour difficulties (SEBD) are ‘produced’ and ‘managed’ within current schooling. SEBD are routinely framed in terms of ‘psychopathologisation’ and managed through zero-tolerance policies and punitive interventions. In this way ‘difference’ is framed as a ‘behavioural problem’ in schools and used, as an ontological a priori, to legitimise the construction and management of subjectively defined ‘disordered identities’ through disciplinary procedures. Issues of power and identity politics are central to any attempt to analyse the complex and intersecting social and discursive factors which contribute to the construction, negotiation and definition of ‘disordered identities’. It is suggested that a human rights approach to difference and diversity requires that ‘challenging behaviour’ and ‘SEBD’ are understood and managed on the basis of an intersectionality-based policy analysis (IBPA) framework and that such an analysis should inform development of policies which take a holistic and socially just approach to understanding and managing students’ problem behaviour.