Culture and consciousness of physically disabled persons : the need for drama within the special school curriculum.
This dissertation investigates how disability has been defined, and focuses on the shift in the conception of disability as an individual and medical problem to disabi1ity as a form of social oppression. Starting from an historical perspective the position of disabled persons in society is traced. The advance of disabled persons, from a condition of enforced social invisibility, to one in which they make themselves seen and heard through social movements fighting for their rights, is outlined as an introduction to a record of practical engagement through pedagogy in a concrete South African context. . After examining the way myths and stereotypes continue to perpetuate discriminatory practices against disabled persons, attention is drawn to the representation of disability through negative and positive images reflected in media as discourse. Thereafter, the material conditions that help, construct the confined, isolated position of disabled persons within society are considered. Attention is drawn to the theoretical positions of Foucault, Fanon and Bulhan to understand how disabled persons have been excluded and/ or exclude themselves from active participation in society. In the light of the foregoing, the dissertation argues for the position of drama as a means of developing a positive self-concept and a positive self-image within disabled persons. The utility of drama in fulfilling this need is demonstrated by way of a qualitative analysis of the experience of drama teaching over a period of several years. The use of drama within special education is urged as a learning medium, with drama as performance and drama as a means of consciousness-raising to advocate for the acceptance and recognition of disabled persons within society. In conclusion, the placement, value and organisation of drama within the Special School Curriculum is considered. The dissertation emphasizes the value of drama as part of culture in which children develop, understand and reflect on their social values, and concentrates on their part in the dialectics of change.