Diagnosing 'Disorderly' Children: A critique of behaviour disorder discourses, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Diagnosing 'Disorderly' Children

A critique of behaviour disorder discourses, 1st Edition

By Valerie Harwood


176 pages

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Based on the author's in-depth research with children diagnosed with behavioural difficulties, this book provides a thorough critique of today's practices, examining:

  • the traditional analyses of behavioural disorders and the making of disorderly children
  • the influence of the 'expert knowledge' on behavioural disorders and its influence on schools, communities and new generations of teachers
  • the effect of discourses of mental disorder on children and young people
  • the increasing medicalisation of young children with drugs such as Ritalin.

This book offers an innovative and accessible analysis of a critical issue facing schools and society today, using Foucaultian notions to pose critical questions of the practices that make children disorderly. Rich in case studies and interviews with children and young people, it will make fascinating reading for students, academics and researchers working in the field of education, inclusion, educational psychology, sociology and youth studies.


"…I am grateful to Harwood for writing a thought-provoking, accessible and timely critical analysis of some of the key issues facing schools and the mental health community. After reading this Foucauldian-animated book, the mainstream educator and psychotherapist will never again look at "conduct disorder" and other such psychiatric/educational diagnostic categories and procedures, with a sense of comfort, acceptance and authority."

--Paul Marcus, Foucault Studies, January 2008.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Behaviour Disorders and Disorderly Children 3. Disorderly Conducts and the Making of Disorderly Children 4. Disorderly Children Weren't Always Disordered 5. Who Says Conduct Disorder is the Truth? The Power behind the Production of Disorderly Children 6. Administering Disorderly Children 7. Why Do Children and Young People Believe they are Disorderly? 8. Why it is so Difficult to Question being Disorderly. References

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Special Education / General
EDUCATION / Special Education / Social Disabilities