From ABCs to ADHD: The role of schooling in the rise and rise of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Year: 2006

Author: Graham, Linda

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Discussion of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the media, and thus much popular discourse, typically revolves around the possible causes of disruptive behaviour and the "behaviourally disordered" child. The usual suspects - too much television and video games, food additives, bad parenting, lack of discipline and single mothers - feature prominently as potential contributors to the spiralling rate of ADHD diagnosis in Western industrialised nations, especially the United States and Australia. Conspicuously absent from the field of investigation, however, is the scene of schooling and the influence that the discourses and practices of schooling may bring to bear upon the constitution of "disorderly behaviour" and subsequent recognition of particular children as a particular kind of "disorderly". This paper reviews a sample of the literature surrounding ADHD, in order to question the function of this absence and, ultimately, make an argument for an interrogation of the school as a site for the production of disorderly objects.