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Entrepreneurship in Swedish upper secondary schools: governing active future citizens?
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3263-3094
2017 (English)In: Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, ISSN 1750-6204, E-ISSN 1750-6212, Vol. 11, no 5, 547-563 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide an empirical contribution by exploring how secondary school students are governed and shaped when entrepreneurship is emphasised in school curricula, and if female and male students are governed in different ways through different techniques connected with entrepreneurship in school.

Design/methodology/approach: This study takes its departure in Michel Foucault’s concept of governmentality. In total, 90 students in gendered focus groups from three upper secondary schools were interviewed about how entrepreneurship in school was implemented and experienced. The schools were geographically dispersed.

Findings: The analysis indicates, the three schools included in the study provide different prerequisites for students to become an active subject. This partly depends on where the individual school is geographically located, but also on the students gender. When entrepreneurship in school is implemented throughout the entire curriculum, female students tend to adopt male-coded entrepreneurial abilities. The neoliberal agenda, with an aim of fostering entrepreneurial self, appears to have permeated the awareness of students, especially female students.

Originality/value: First, the paper contributes with an empirical research regarding students’ experiences of entrepreneurship in school. Second, the paper contributes to a gender perspective on entrepreneurship in school. Third, the paper contributes to the understanding of how entrepreneurship in school is realised in a different school context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 11, no 5, 547-563 p.
Keyword [en]
Upper secondary school, Governmentality, Placement, Entrepreneurship in school, Female and male students
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-127575DOI: 10.1108/JEC-06-2016-0020ISI: 000414731400002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-127575DiVA: diva2:1047003
Note

Originally published in manuscript form

Available from: 2016-11-16 Created: 2016-11-16 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Hur ska du bli när du blir stor?: en studie i svensk gymnasieskola när entreprenörskap i skolan är i fokus
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hur ska du bli när du blir stor?: en studie i svensk gymnasieskola när entreprenörskap i skolan är i fokus
2016 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The general aim of this thesis is to examine and explain how education fosters future citizens when Swedish upper secondary schools work actively with entrepreneurship in school. Toward this aim, two research questions are asked: How are students governed and how do students govern when focus is on entrepreneurship in school? How do teachers relate to entrepreneurship in school? The study took place in a school development program with a focus on teachers developing their abilities and working with entrepreneurship in schools. Four studies presented in four articles form the cornerstones of the thesis. The empirical data was collected during 2013– 2014 in three of the participating schools. Different methods were used. The first step was reading and analysing policy documents, followed by observations in the classrooms, interviews with the teachers with the help of performance maps, and interviews with the students in gendered focus groups. In total, 14 teachers and 90 students were involved in the study. The schools were geographically spread and represented both public and independent schools. For this study an abductive approach was used, which means that the empirical data were collected and first studied unbiased. Various theoretical models were chosen to find answers to the specific research questions; thus, a connection between the theory and the empirical data was made.

The first article examines whether a citizen with entrepreneurial abilities is fostered in school when the concept of entrepreneurship has a place in the curriculum. This article also analyses the curriculum (Gy11) and more specifically what can be read under the heading The Task of the School. The main result from this study shows that students are emphasising entrepreneurial abilities over other abilities. The second article draws a comparison between John Dewey’s ideas of progressive education from the early 1900s and the teaching methods that have come to be advocated for developing student ́s entrepreneurial abilities. The main purpose of progressive education is to foster a democratic citizen; here I could observe that techniques for teaching entrepreneurship are comparable to progressive education, but the purpose is not the same. The purpose of entrepreneurship in school is primarily to foster individuals who are active and responsible for their own future.

Michael Foucault's concept of governmentality is the focus of article three, which explores how students are governed and shaped when entrepreneurship in school is emphasised, and it explores whether boys and girls are governed in different ways. The analysis of the result indicated that the students were governed in three different ways in the three school contexts, and girls and boys were governed in different ways both among the schools and within the schools.

The fourth article addresses how the teachers relate to entrepreneurship in schools in light of new reforms, marketization, more regulation and the demands of being an entrepreneurial teacher. The result shows three narratives: the cool teacher, the stressed teacher, and the frustrated teacher, each handling entrepreneurship in school in different ways.

This thesis shows that the entrepreneur has come to be presented as a hero and entrepreneurship as a solution to cope with challenges—to the global economy, but also for coping with ourselves and our own lives. It also shows that fostering a democratic citizen is subordinate to fostering citizens with entrepreneurial abilities, as the regime of truth is to become the entrepreneur. The students are both governed and governing toward that direction. And even if teachers have different ways of approaching entrepreneurship in schools, the will to be the entrepreneurial teacher and to foster entrepreneurial citizens is clear. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2016. 76 p.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 0281-6768 ; 125
Keyword
Citizenship, Entrepreneurship in school, Upper secondary school, Governmentality
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-127563 (URN)978-91-7601-577-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-12-08, Beteendevetarhuset Hörsal 1031, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-11-17 Created: 2016-11-15 Last updated: 2016-12-14Bibliographically approved

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