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Government, Education, Dyslexia: Towards A Genealogy of Dyslexia

Tom Campbell


My current research is working towards a social, economic and political history of dyslexia. Hitherto, historical narratives about dyslexia and other learning difficulties have approached the problem simply as an advance in medical and psychological technologies.

Drawing upon the historical work of Michel Foucault, Jacques Donzelot and Nikolas Rose the research aims to emphasis the importance of political, economic, social and cultural factors in the constitution of psycho-medical diagnosis. I plan to consult, medical texts, psychological literature, official government documents, and a variety of other historical sources such as educational philosophy, moral philosophy and eugenic writings.

I hope that my study will not only contribute to the sociology of disablement, but also to the sociology of impairment. My current understanding of ‘dyslexia’ is that it is an event in the history of the government of literacy, or the history of reading, and therefore I have also have a research interest in these fields.