Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021


This paper explores introduction to special education textbooks in order to illuminate how they portray the social and political work of special educators, especially in relation to disabled students and adults. This study analyzed five leading special education textbooks used in university teacher education programs using traditional methods of discourse analysis, including line-by-line coding and language-in-use with valuation. The analysis and coding tracked story plot components and characters associated with five phases evident in the narrative structure of a hero's journey: (1) the call to adventure, (2) supernatural aid, (3) threshold guardians, (4) trials and tribulations, and (5) the return. Discussions of the findings illustrate the problematic ways in which the textbooks create a heroic narrative of past and current elements tied to the field of special education.


This article was originally published in Disability Studies Quarterly, volume 41, issue 2, in 2021.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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