Title

School Discipline, Race, and the Discursive Construction of the “Deficient” Student

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-3-2018

Abstract

Research has demonstrated how, in the current era of mass incarceration, the punitive arm of the state now extends beyond traditional criminal justice structures into institutions typically associated with providing care or a social good. The negative effects of this shift have disproportionately impacted marginalized populations, particularly low-income black and Latino communities. This article examines one way that this extension has manifested in the realm of public education. Based on ethnographic data from a public Grade 6–12 Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) in Texas, this article scrutinizes the program’s behavioral rules and disciplinary procedures. The analysis focuses on students’ introductory experience to the DAEP as a “strategic research site” to illuminate the program’s formal objectives, methods to achieve their institutional goals, and their intended effects on students. I find that the practices and procedures in place at the DAEP operate through racializing surveillance to constitute “disciplinary technologies” devoted to the transformation of “culturally deficient” students—a racialized and gendered classification—into docile bodies. Students are disciplined through punitive and rehabilitative methods premised on the discursive construction of “deficient” students and families.

Publication Name

Sociological Spectrum

Volume Number

38

First Page

326

Last Page

345

Issue Number

5

DOI

10.1080/02732173.2018.1532364

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