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Democracy and critical scrutiny in two upper secondary school programmes
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
2014 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In Sweden the fostering of democratic values has a long history in schools and since the 1990s the question has been put forward as a very important social issue for education. International-comparative studies shows that Sweden and the other Nordic countries in the aspect how to ‘live democracy' in daily school life have a broader definition on democratic education than many other countries (Birzéa et al., 2004). This paper focuses democratic education in Swedish upper secondary school programmes with different gender and social class profiles. It especially covers how democracy and critical scrutiny are presented in the teaching. The analysis in this paper is based on Basil Bernstein's (2000) theories regarding power, control and pedagogic codes, in combination with feminist theories (principally those of Arnot & Dillabough (2000), Skeggs (1997), Gordon (2006) and Walkerdine (1990)). An ethnographic field study has been carried out at a major upper secondary school in Sweden during one school year, 2008-09, with participant observations, conversations, formal interviews and document analyses. The study involves two classes with 50 students (19 males, 31 females) in school year one, one from the Child and Recreation Programme (vocational, traditional female dominated) and one from the Natural Science Programme (academic, equal sex distribution). The democratic education appeared generally to be unplanned and was marginalised in school. Democracy was presented in the form of facts about formal democracy and formal participation in democracy in the future, while a more critical attitude and possible influence strategies for youths were marginalised. The discipline of critical scrutiny was placed within different subject assignments as part of training in a scientific attitude, while teaching was rarely scrutinised. This instruction were also significant different between the classes: the Natural Science class received more extensive and clearer instruction than the Child and Recreation class, a greater emphasis was laid on the benefit of this knowledge in preparation for higher education, and it was presented with a higher level of difficulty, complexity and context independence. These differences are related to the programmes' gender and class profiles and the students' expected positions in society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NERA - Nordic Educational Research Association , 2014.
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-97335OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-97335DiVA: diva2:771937
Conference
Nordic Educational Research Association’s conference (NERA), Lillehammer, 5-7 mars 2014
Available from: 2014-12-15 Created: 2014-12-15 Last updated: 2017-06-12Bibliographically approved

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Hjelmér, Carina
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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