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Politics of Blame: Constructions of low/high expectations and inequality in Swedish schools
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2013 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper explores representations of high expectations for equal educational achievement in the neo-liberal educational regime of individualisation and governing by both marketization and increased central state control. At the centre of the paper is a study of national school inspection reports and how they construct educational success or failure in relation to teachers’ high/low expectations and context. This paper focuses on constructions of accountability in terms of ‘the politics of blame’ and the role of social class, gender and race given school achievement in a Swedish educational system that for decades have emphasised equality, equivalence and compensatory education. Increased state control through national school inspection is part of an audit explosion where inspection is made the solution to several ‘problems’ in welfare and public sector to restore trust for example in schools but also to allocate blame for the perceived school ‘crisis’. In the paper I argue that by marginalising and not discussing issues of social class and ethnicity or the impact that competition has on schools, accountability and blame is allocated to individual teachers. In an effort not to blame pupils, the aspect of resources and pedagogy is marginalised where individual teachers are meant to just raise their expectations. While educational gaps in terms of gender are often discussed, differences in relation to social class are silenced. This serves to legitimize and uphold the neo-liberal educational order of individualised blame and competition. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
Keyword [en]
school inspection, politics of blame, high expectations, social class, gender, race, educational achievement, school choice
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-82044OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-82044DiVA: diva2:659488
Conference
Statsvetenskapliga förbundets årsmöte (SWEPSA), arbetsgrupp 6: Feminism, makt and politik. Stockholm, Sverige, 2-4 Oktober, 2013.
Projects
Inspecting the Market: Education at the intersection of marketization and central state control
Available from: 2013-10-25 Created: 2013-10-25 Last updated: 2013-11-08Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf