Disability-Inclusive Education, Development, and Dialectics: Complex Cases in Bhutan


Disability-inclusive education and development have become priorities for global governance organizations over the past decade and have thus introduced new complexities to existing development narratives. One reason for this is the long-standing discourse of “disability models” (medical, social, and cultural models) most often found in disability studies discourses. This study demonstrates that individuals with disabilities and their advocates navigate education and development opportunities through the lens of multiple models simultaneously. In this article, we introduce the philosophical theory of dialectics as a way of understanding how seemingly competing models might simultaneously inform the actions that individuals take in relation to disability-inclusive education and development. We present three minicases—two from teachers and one from a youth with a disability—drawn from a recent 3-year project in Bhutan. These case examples demonstrate how dialectical thinking is often present in education and development initiatives.

Suggested Citation

Johnstone, C., Schuelka, M. J., Choeki, Y., & Yetsho, T. (2023). Disability-Inclusive Education, Development, and Dialectics: Complex Cases in Bhutan. Comparative Education Review, 67(1), 147–166. https://doi.org/10.1086/722814


Peer-Reviewed Article 
University of Chicago Press


  • International initiatives
    • Inclusive education