Inklusion, Publikationen

Call for Papers «Inclusive Education is not Dead, it just Articulates Differently. Approaches and Pitfalls to the International Comparison»

Raphael Zahnd | 2. Februar 2024

Es freut uns, an dieser Stelle auf den Call for Papers zu einer Special Issue des European Journal of Inclusive Education zu verweisen, die sich mit der Methodik des internationalen Vergleich im Kontext inklusiver Bildung beschäftigt. Die Special Issue wird herausgegeben von Lea Schäfer (Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg/Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Julia Gasterstädt (Universität Kassel), Andreas Köpfer (Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg) und Raphael Zahnd (Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz).


This is a call for papers to be submitted to the special issue Inclusive Education is not Dead, it just ArticulatesDifferently. Approaches and Pitfalls to the International Comparison” starting from 01.02.2024The closing date for submission is 15.03.2024.

We are happy to receive either: 

  • Full papers (max. 7000 words excluding references) which will go through the normal review process for the European Journal of Inclusive Education and must adhere to its author guidelines (see this linkfor details). 


  • An abstract of 250-400 words, with a list of authors and title – should you wish to know if the editors consider whether your idea is relevant to the call, prior to a full paper submission.

Context of the special issue 

Inclusive education can be described as an international paradigm that, on the one hand, has been incorporated into the policies of international (educational) organizations, such as the European Union, the OECD, UNESCO or the World Bank, while on the other hand, it has gained significant visibility through international agreements, such as the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education of 1994, the UN Convention on theRights of Persons with Disabilities of 2006 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals of 2018. The political normative(pro)positions and goals in inclusive education associated with this are currently adopted in national and regionaleducation policies and, subsequently, specific steering processes in education systems are being initiated. Thereby, inclusion needs to be adapted, at both the national and regional level, into different educational systems with differing historical developments, distinct cultures, normative and legal foundations, and then be transferred into practice andspecific conditions.

Against the sketched backdrop inclusive education is discussed to be a fuzzy or slippery concept, meaning that it is difficult to define or operationalize it in a clear and precise way. As this fuzziness might be very well a problem for developing inclusive education systems, it also presents a specific challenge for international comparative research regarding inclusive education. Facing the differences of educational systems, of existing national data sources, and of the way inclusion gets implemented the task of comparing inclusion and participation between educational systems –and also the barriers and discrimination embedded therein – is challenging. For example, in the European discourseon Inclusive Education, different country-specific theoretical and methodological approaches come together. While reading inclusion divergently (Amrhein & Naraian 2022) can be seen as a necessary prerequisite for the European and international analysis of inclusive education, a methodological discussion is nonetheless necessary.

To tackle this challenge, researcher from Germany, Austria and Switzerland founded the DFG-funded (2020-2024)scientific network “Inclusive Education: International and Comparative Perspectives”. Its aim is to explore how thetransformation towards inclusive educational systems, reaching from global to local levels, can be studied in aninternationally comparative manner. Within the network, different theoretical and/or methodological approaches arecompared and discussed with scientists from the international arena to analyze the potentials and limitations ofdifferent approaches for international comparative (educational) research.

The idea for this special issue was born at the ECER conference at the University of Glasgow 2023, where somemembers of the network held a research workshop under the title «Inclusive Education is not Dead, it just ArticulatesDifferently. Discussing Approaches and Pitfalls to the International Comparison» in Network 4 «Inclusive Education». Inthis special edition of the European Journal of Inclusive Education we aim to stick to the idea of that workshop andinitiate a theoretical and methodological discussion by presenting a collection of papers that deal with this challenge.Thus, based on the preliminary work and research of the network, which has already been published in the Handbookof Inclusion International (Köpfer, Powell & Zahnd 2021), the analytical focus of this special issue is rather put on thedevelopment process regarding the international comparative research discourse on inclusive education (i.e., how can international comparative research be done?) than on the implementation process (i.e., results of a comparison ofeducational systems).

The aim is not to evaluate approaches in the sense of a best practice, but to make clear which challenges becomeevident and what kind of approaches (methodological/theoretical) could be helpful to tackle them. Hence, the call will welcome papers from the network members, experts working on the network’s topic, and researchers that participated in the Glasgow’s workshop. It will comprise both theoretical and methodological challenges regarding international andcross-cultural comparison in inclusive education.

Some possible themes for papers to explore.

  • The diversity of understandings of inclusion and synonymous concepts that deal with inclusive education, their theoretical foundations, and how international comparative research has to deal with this diversity (i.e.participation, discrimination)
  • Translating inclusion between “global-national-local” levels and the problem of translation and context-dependence of researcher perspective(s)
  • Classification, categories and the problem of normativity and reification in the context of Internationalcomparative research (i.e. in context of knowledge production process or data production) (cf. Badstieber,Gasterstädt & Köpfer 2022)

Organization / timeline

The special issue is planned to be published in 2025.

After selecting suitable proposals, the authors will be informed and invited to take part in an author`s workshop (online) in May/June 2024. The workshop aims to connect the involved authors and their ideas. Thereby it will also foster theprocess and quality of the contributions.


Amrhein, B. & Naraian, S. (2022). Reading Inclusion Divergently. Emerald Publishing Limited.

Badstieber, Benjamin.

Gasterstädt, J. & Köpfer, A. (2022). Reconstructive Approaches in Inclusive Education – Methodological Challenges of Normativity and Reification in International Inclusion Research. In: B. Amrhein & S. Naraian (Eds.): Reading Inclusion Divergently: Articulations from Around the World. London: Emerald Publishing, S. 171-186.

Köpfer, A., Powell, J.J.W. & Zahnd, R. (Eds.) (2021): International Handbook of Inclusive Education. Opladen, Berlin, Toronto: Verlag Barbara Budrich. Available at: (31.01.2024).

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