Ghostings, materialisations and flows in Britain’s special educational needs assemblage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Colleges, School and Institutes


In this paper we argue that the UK government’s new special
educational needs and disability (SEND) Code of Practice marks a
further movement in the expansion of what Tomlinson has
identified as the SEN industry. Yet at the same time, we suggest
that the Code inaugurates a series of less familiar movements of
policy, of governance and responsibility, of understanding SEND,
and of the constitution of subjects identified in these terms. We
make use of Deleuze’s notion of assemblages and societies of
control to think about the ‘ghostings’, ‘materialisations’ and ‘flows’
found within the Code and the ways in which these instantiate
an ‘empty architecture’ which education, health and care
professionals as well as children, young people and parents/carers
must simultaneously furnish and navigate. We examine this new
terrain for conceptualising, administering and responding to SEND
and suggest that a new orientation to analysis and critique is


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Special educational needs, disability, Foucault, Deleuze, policy, assemblage