Critical discourse analysis and inclusive educational policies: The power to exclude
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The legislative shift towards an inclusive education policy in Cyprus has allegedly been fragmented and contradictory. The textual hybridity of the ostensibly more inclusive policy documents prevents the realization of an inclusive discourse. Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is proposed as an emancipatory research tool that has the potential to destabilize the authoritarian discourses entrenched in educational policy agendas, thereby facilitating the linguistic and, by implication, conceptual reinstatement of inclusion as a notion that unequivocally advocates the protection of the human rights of children with special educational needs (SEN). In the first section, the article concentrates on the theoretical perspectives of CDA within the context of inclusive education policymaking. For illustration purposes, CDA is used here to expose the power/knowledge grid and its subjugating attributes, enshrined in two official legislative documents. The aim is to answer the following questions: (1) In what ways does the legislative document construct and sustain asymmetrical power relations? (2) In what ways are children with SEN constructed and positioned? and (3) In what ways are children's human rights silenced? The next section is given over to the criticisms of CDA, whilst the final section raises some issues and identifies some problems in relation to the value of CDA as an emancipatory research tool.