In this article, Alfredo Artiles identifies "paradoxes and dilemmas" faced by special education researchers and practitioners who are seeking to create socially just education systems in a democratic society that is currently marked by an increasing complexity of difference. He argues that the two primary discourse communities — inclusion and overrepresentation — must engage in a fuller dialogue and recognize the "troubling silences" within and between their respective literatures. Placing his analysis within the larger political context of current efforts and debates over educational reform, the author gives readers a broad overview of the literature on inclusion and overrepresentation. He then presents a multilayered analysis of culture and space that identifies the limitations of current research, while offering new possibilities and directions for the field. Artiles concludes that unless researchers and practitioners surface their assumptions about difference, as well as culture and space, the special education field will continue to perpetuate the silences that threaten the educational and life needs of historically marginalized students.

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