This book should be read by everyone who wants to understand special education today. New Perspectives in Special Education opens the door to the fascinating and vitally important world of theory that informs contemporary special education. It examines theoretical and philosophical orientations such as 'positivism', 'poststructuralism' and 'hermeneutics', relating these to contemporary global views of special education. Offering a refreshingly balanced view across a broad range of debates, this topical text guides the reader through the main theoretical and philosophical positions that may be held with regard to special education, and critically examines positions that often go unrecognised and unquestioned by practitioners and academics alike. It helps the reader to engage with and question the positions taken by themselves and others, by providing thinking points and suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter. Perspectives covered include: * Positivism and empiricism * Phenomenology and hermeneutics * Historical materialism and critical theory * Holism and constructivism * Structuralism and post structuralism * Pragmatism and symbolic interactionism * Psychoanalysis * Postmodernism and historical epistemology Anyone wishing to gain a fuller understanding of special education should not be without this stimulating and much needed text.