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Marketisation on export: representations of the Swedish free school model in English media
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
2015 (English)In: European Educational Research Journal (online), ISSN 1474-9041, E-ISSN 1474-9041, Vol. 14, no 6, 549-565 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores how 'social democratic' Sweden initiated and implemented choice reforms that attracted the interest of 'liberal' England. By studying how English media framed and portrayed the Swedish free school 'export' from 2008 to 2014, this paper aims to describe and discuss how a market-oriented policy idea, the Swedish system of free schools, is represented as it travels across national contexts. Initially, the Swedish free school model was portrayed as an inspiration for both the English political left and, in particular, the right. But the national stereotypical representation of Sweden as a legitimate 'reference society' was significantly toned down after the 2010 election—often accompanied by references to Sweden’s poor PISA performances. The study shows how Swedish policy 'retailers', such as school chain representatives, use the media for further display and reach. They are not only selling policy ideas, but also their own services, curricular approaches, and teaching methods, expanding their share in the global 'edu-business'. In sum, such educational policy retailing, along with media-policy interaction that (re)interprets national stereotypes linked to political legitimation, are important sources for understanding and further exploring international flows and interpretations of market-oriented reform ideas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2015. Vol. 14, no 6, 549-565 p.
Keyword [en]
Marketization, mediatization, policy borrowing, media, free schools
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
statskunskap; educational work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-108853DOI: 10.1177/1474904115610782ISI: 000365092500005OAI: diva2:854223
Swedish Research Council, 2007-4031

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Available from: 2015-09-16 Created: 2015-09-16 Last updated: 2015-12-11Bibliographically approved

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Rönnberg, Linda
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