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Googling inclusive education: a critical visual analysis

Walton, Elizabeth; Dixon, Kerryn

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Kerryn Dixon


Inclusive education is a global rights-based response to educational exclusion. It is communicated through a range of modalities, but analysis predominantly focuses on discourses constituted in written texts. Systematic research is needed to understand the discursive ensembles constituted by the visual mode. Our interest is in images of inclusive education that are available online and sourced via a Google images search. Using a critical approach to visual analysis, we conducted a visual content analysis and a multimodal discourse analysis. Four prominent discourses of inclusive education are evident: discourses of diversity, childhood, connection, and celebration. Education is a discursive absence. Each discourse reflects ideas of the field, but together these images present a distorted view of inclusive education and trivialise its concerns. This raises questions about the extent to which images can adequately capture the complexity and import of notions of access, equity and social justice.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 11, 2020
Online Publication Date Sep 16, 2020
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Sep 2, 2020
Publicly Available Date Mar 17, 2022
Journal Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education
Electronic ISSN 1469-3739
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 2
Pages 217-230
Keywords inclusive education; critical visual analysis; Google images; discourse; multimodal discourse analysis
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education on 16 Sept 2020, available online:


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