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  • 1.
    Carlbaum, Sara
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.
    Blir du anställningsbar lille/a vän?: Diskursiva konstruktioner av framtida medborgare i gymnasiereformer 1971-20112012Doktorsavhandling, monografi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    School is one of the most important institutions society has for fostering its future citizens. Education policy can be seen as an important arena for the discursive struggle over the meaning of education, not only what it is for, its goals and purposes, but also its deficiencies. Education policies are not mirrors of reality but include a power dimension in describing the problems to be solved. Thus, a specific question or a particular phenomenon is given a certain value and meaning. The different articulations involved in represen­tations of problems construct certain subject positions of citizenship which are not open for everyone. This makes it essential to deconstruct these gendered, racialized and classed subject positions. In the same way as in the beginning of the 1990s, the Swedish school system is currently facing changes. The most recent reform of upper secondary education, implemented in 2011, needs to be viewed in a historical perspective.

    This thesis analyses discursive continuity and change with regard to representations of the problems, goals and purposes of upper secondary education during the period 1971-2011. Focus is also placed on changes and continuities in how the good future citizen is constructed and in what ways gender, class and ethnicity are produced in these constructions.

    The theoretical framework is inspired and informed by discourse theory, feminist theory and theories on citizenship. Adopting this approach, I analyse government policy documents concerning upper secondary education reforms. The analysis shows not only changes, but also the importance of continuities in the dominating discourses of a school for all (1971-1989); a school for lifelong learning (1990-2005); and a school for the labour market (2006-2011). A shift from integration to differentiation is revealed in which the silencing of signifiers, such as democracy, equality and multiculturalism, lead to a risk of unequal opportunities for people to politicize their experience and situation. The previous demands for retraining and flexibility, for emancipation and lifelong learning are marginalised in favour of employability, skill supply and entrepreneurship. The constructions of good future citizens as consumers become instead constructions of citizens as products for business and growth. A male productive worker and male entrepreneur are constructed, privileging a white middle class. Neo-liberal and neo-conservative influences, reinforce the individual’s responsibility to become included in what is constructed as a desired citizenship.

  • 2.
    Carlbaum, Sara
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.
    Correcting Market Failure?: New inspection policies and Swedish free-schools2013Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    In recent decades governing processes of education in Europe and beyond has been influenced by neo-liberalism and new public management, involving policies such as decentralization, choice and competition. A far reaching marketization trend has been evident in where schools compete over students as consumers and customers (Rose 1999; Ball 2009, 2012). Alongside this trend of marketization, European countries and education systems are also witnessing increased trends of evaluation and state control through, for instance, national school inspections (Power 1999; Hudson 2011). In Sweden these trends have been remarkable with the introduction of school choice and free-schools, free of charge and state funded, in the 1990s. This has resulted in a growing school market with the unusual arrangement where free-schools also can retrieve profit from tax-funded education (Erixon Arreman & Holm 2011). With the decentralization of education, including the introduction of governing by objectives in education, state control seemed to decrease but this picture changed as national school inspections were reinstated in 2003. This reintroduction was meant to uphold educational equivalence, improve quality and pupil performance and these efforts were also reinforced with the new national agency the Swedish Schools Inspectorate, in 2008 (Hudson 2007; Rönnberg 2012). Underlying these justifications for increased control through inspection is also the belief that more control leads to a better market with more informed customers and the Inspectorate has recently introduced changes in the inspection of free-schools, such as joint inspections of educational companies and corporate groups and increased control of establishing a new free-school. The exciting and largely unexplored intersection of marketization and central state control in the Swedish education policy context is at the focus of this paper.

    The aim is to analyse and critically discuss how the need for changes in the inspection of free-schools in Sweden is framed and represented. The research questions concern how these inspection policies are represented, what their purposes are, how the efforts are legitimized and motivated, what is unproblematised and what interests are prioritized? In so doing, I hope that we can reach a deeper understanding of the intersecting and complex governing practices of marketization in terms of competition and choice and increased national state control through school inspection. Although the Swedish marketization of education is unique, making it an interesting case in its own right, these governing practices are present in other national contexts as well, and the paper also aims to facilitate a discussion of these issues relevant to a broader European context.

    Theoretically, the analysis draws on literature in the field of marketization of education (Ball 2009, 2012) as well as literature on the wider audit society (Power 1999) and school inspection (Clarke 2008; Ozga, et al. 2011; Rönnberg 2012). Mainly my interest lies in the aspect of governing and the argument that we as subjects are governed not by policies themselves but by problematisations. And that how we think about an issue or phenomenon shapes the ‘problem’ and the solutions put forward (Bacchi 2009).

    Methods and materials

    The empirical material includes interviews with officials at the Inspectorate involved in policy and development of inspection policies for free-schools in Sweden during spring 2013. It also includes press releases and polemical articles from the Inspectorate as well as documents, such as project plans and reports. The analytic approach is informed by Foucault and governmentality studies (Foucault 1991; Dean 2010). The material, both interviews and texts, have been carefully analysed with regards to a specific set of questions building on Bacchi (2009). What is the problem with inspection of free-schools represented to be? What presuppositions and assumptions underlie this representation of the ‘problem’?  What is left unproblematic in this ‘problem’ representation? What interests are prioritized and who is likely to gain?

    Preliminary findings and conclusions

    Preliminary findings show that inspection is represented as the universal solution to unwanted consequences of competition such as a lack of equivalence between schools, lack of equivalence in the inspection procedure and judgments made by inspectors, lack of quality, profitmaking and school actors with devious backgrounds. In the paper, I argue that by introducing changes in the inspection of free- schools, the governing through marketization is represented as more efficient and legitimate. The market principles seem to require a strong state and legitimacy for marketization as well as national school inspections are co-produced. The issue of for profit tax-funded free-schools and competition between schools is left un-discussed and silenced.

  • 3.
    Carlbaum, Sara
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för tillämpad utbildningsvetenskap, Centrum för utvärderingsforskning (UCER).
    Do you have a complaint?: Juridification in marketized school2014Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 4.
    Carlbaum, Sara
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.
    Equivalence and performance gaps in Swedish school inspection: context and the politics of blame2016Ingår i: Discourse. Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, ISSN 0159-6306, E-ISSN 1469-3739, Vol. 37, nr 1, s. 133-148Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    This article analyses and critically discusses how context is relevant when constructing and upholding an equivalent education for all within the neo-liberal educational regime of marketisation and accountability. At the centre of the article is a study of national school inspection reports in four municipalities in Sweden, exploring performance gaps, equality and justice in an educational system, that for decades has emphasised universal welfare, justice and equality. By drawing on the concept of ‘the politics of blame’, findings show that accountability and blame are constructed in complex ways. Although teachers and schools are blamed for low expectations with little contextual consideration by Swedish Schools Inspectorate, local governments are blamed for not redistributing resources. This can both challenge and strengthen the contemporary regime in governing education.

  • 5.
    Carlbaum, Sara
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.
    Governing free choice in Swedish upper secondary education2012Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
  • 6.
    Carlbaum, Sara
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för tillämpad utbildningsvetenskap, Centrum för utvärderingsforskning (UCER).
    Guardians of individual rights?: Media representation of the school Lundsberg vs the Swedish Schools Inspectorate2014Ingår i: The Past, the Present and the Future of Educational Research, 2014Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Research questions, objectives and theoretical framework

    Throughout Europe, governing education is increasingly influenced by different forms of evaluation systems including quality audits, ranking lists, evaluations and school inspection. After trends of decentralization, managerialism and marketization, re-regulation efforts have seen the light to hold education providers accountable, whether public or private (Ozga et al. 2011; Ehren et al. 2013). The politics of comparison and governing by numbers is particularly visible in the media, for example, the media regularly reports on international rankings of pupil results as well as inspection reports and complaints resulting in a complex audit-media relationship (Rönnberg, Lindgren and Segerholm 2013). The re-regulation of a far-reaching decentralized and marketized school system with publicly funded for-profit free schools makes Sweden a unique case with both its egalitarian and social democratic traditions combined with neo-liberal trends. The introduction of the new centralized agency The Swedish Schools Inspectorate (SSI) can be viewed in the light of increased emphasis on state control, evaluation and accountability. For the SSI issues of equivalence and the individual right of the student have been stressed. Issues of quality and equivalence has a tendency to be framed as a legal issue (Lindgren et al. 2012). This seems to reflect a process of juridification (Magnussen and Banasiak 2013). However, the sanctions available to the SSI have been limited. Not until the implementation of the reformed school act in 2011 did it have the means to impose fines or mandate to temporarily shut down schools, apart from withdrawing schools permits from free-schools. Studies have shown that an effective sanction available for the SSI, previously, has been media exposure (Rönnberg, Lindgren and Segerholm 2012).

    The interconnectedness of marketization, central stat control, juridification and mediatization can be explored in the case of the school Lundsberg vs the Inspectorate. Lundsberg is one of three free-schools that is allowed to have student fees, unlike other schools. It also receives specific state funding due to it being a boarding school for students with parents living abroad. The school has a long history previous to the introduction of school choice and free-schools in Sweden and is known as a school for a privileged elite. It has a long history of problems with bullying, abuse and initiations. This is what started the Inspectorates inspection in 2011 after a filed complaint. After a long process of inspection, the SSI end the inspection in spring 2013. However, when the school start again the same autumn one of the students were burnt with an iron. The SSI then closed the school and every student was sent home. This was a major media story. Lundsberg, however, appealed and the court ruled in the interest of the school as the actual event took place in the dormitory and not during school activities. The aim is to analyse this case as it is represented in the media with a focus on how student rights are framed and how the Inspectorate and the school is represented. By doing so I hope to facilitate a deeper discussion about juridification and mediatization in the European governance trends of marketization and audit. Theoretically, the analysis draws on literature in the field of the wider audit society (Power 1997; Dahler-Larsen 2012) and school inspection (Clarke 2008; Ozga et al. 2011) as well as literature on mediatization (Levin 2004; Lingard and Rawolle 2004; Strömbäck 2099). Mainly my interest lies in the aspect of governing and how it shapes our views on responsibility and rights, the relationship between individual and state as well as education and politics.

    Methodology, Methods, Research Instruments or Sources Used 

    In studying the media exposure, newspaper articles have been collected through a media storage database using keywords such as the name of the school, the name of the inspection agency, and words such as evaluation, inspection and control. Although media exposure is not confined to the printed press I argue that it will be sufficient for the projects explorative aim as it can give us interesting knowledge about the audit-media relationship in governing as well as juridification processes. Therefore, the empirical material consist mainly of articles in the printed national press. In addition, I have included material from the SSI and the court, in terms of decision reports, press releases and such. The analytic approach is informed by Foucault (1991) and the material have been carefully analysed with regards to a specific set of questions building on a problematizing approach. What is represented as the problem resulting in the shutdown of the school? How is the inspection process represented? How are the different actors involved represented? Who/what gets to speak? Who is made responsible? Whose interest is prioritized?

    Conclusions, expected outcomes or findings

    Preliminary findings show that while the SSI in the media coverage represent itself as the guardian of individual rights the position of the school, is to represent itself as the one guarding students right to continue their education. The media tends to represent SSI as a watchdog and as a legitimate state control when shutting down what is articulated as a traditionally elitist institution such as Lundsberg. On the other hand the SSI is represented as an illegitimate state control that practices collective punishment. Sanctioning the school should not interfere with other students right to their choice of education and school. Despite the court’s ruling in the interest of the school claiming that the shutdown was illegitimate, the SSI can be viewed as having no other choice in the matter. If the SSI had not acted it would likely have created an ‘expectations gap’ (Power 1997) of what the SSI’s mandate is in the public opinion and what it can actually achieve and control. This would limit the legitimacy for the agency and for governing education by inspections. Furthermore, the case shows some aspects of juridification (Magnussen and Banasiak 2013). This, I argue, can be interpreted by the framing of the issues of bullying, abuse and harassment as legal issues, the tendency to frame it as individual events and not structural or cultural, and the ruling of the court in terms of where the incident took place and the legal grounds for the SSI. 

  • 7.
    Carlbaum, Sara
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för tillämpad utbildningsvetenskap, Centrum för utvärderingsforskning (UCER).
    Justice through school inspection?: Educational equity in Swedish schools2014Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores representations of high expectations for justice and equality in educational outcomes in the neo-liberal educational regime of individualisation, 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 socio-political and school-market context and conditions. The paper focuses on constructions of accountability in terms of ‘the politics of blame’ (Thrupp 1998) and the role of social class, gender and race given school achievement in a Swedish educational system that for decades have emphasised universal welfare, justice and equality. However, the marketization of Swedish education since the 1990s, with school choice, competition and independent schools, seems to have pushed back issues of justice and equality.  In this light, increased state control through national school inspection can be seen as part of an audit explosion (Power 1997) where inspection is made the solution to several ‘problems’ in education, for instance, to allocate blame for the perceived school ‘crisis’ of decreasing results and equality. By drawing on the literature of marketization and the wider audit society, the paper explores equality and justice in embedded contexts.

    Methods

    A diverse case selection (Gerring 2007) of five municipalities has been made based on inspections in 2011/2012; geography; and municipal size in order to make sure some independent schools were included. From the five selected municipals, regular inspection reports of secondary municipal schools and secondary independent schools that provides year nine, have been analysed. This has resulted in inspection reports from a total of 127 schools, including 33 independent schools plus five municipal reports. In close readings of the texts focus has been placed on how different schools are represented, in what ways, if any, socio-political and school-market context and conditions is attended to and how different subjects are positioned in relation to articulations of justice, equality and achievement.

     Expected outcomes

    In the paper, I argue that by marginalising and not discussing issues of socio-political context or the impact that competition has on schools, accountability and blame remains individualised, downgrading ideas of equality and justice. Although, the representations and constructions of gender, social class and race are criticised in articulations of low expectations, the effort not to blame students, tend to ignore the structural aspects and resilience of racist and sexist discourse when individual teachers are meant to just raise their expectations. While educational gaps and equality in terms of gender are often discussed, differences in relation to social class are silenced. Social class seems to be racialized as the only legitimate argument for ‘failure’ is positioning the student group as ‘newly arrived immigrants’. This serves to legitimize and uphold the neo-liberal educational order of individualised blame, difference, hierarchy and competition. 

  • 8.
    Carlbaum, Sara
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för tillämpad utbildningsvetenskap.
    Marknadens misslyckande?: om behovet av utökad kontroll av fristående skolor2014Ingår i: Utbildning och Demokrati, ISSN 1102-6472, E-ISSN 2001-7316, Vol. 23, nr 1, s. 39-56Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Market failure? The need for increased control of independent schools. This article critically analyses the introduction of an establishment control of independent schools in Sweden. I discuss how we can understand this change in the current governing regime of both marketization in terms of school choice and competition and increased central state control through national school inspections. This is done by analysing documents such as project plans and reports and interviews with employees at the Swedish Schools Inspectorate. By drawing on Bacchi’s (2009) “What’s the problem represented to be?” approach, I ask: What is the purpose of the establishment control? What problem is the new control represented to solve? For whom is the control necessary? Establishment control is represented as a problem of market risks that is justified by everyone’s gain. I argue that this is not only constructing legitimacy for school inspections but is also contributing to upholding market principles in education as such.

  • 9.
    Carlbaum, Sara
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.
    När anställningsbarheten blir skolans allenarådande mål2013Övrigt (Övrig (populärvetenskap, debatt, mm))
  • 10.
    Carlbaum, Sara
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.
    Politics of Blame: Constructions of low/high expectations and inequality in Swedish schools2013Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    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. 

  • 11.
    Carlbaum, Sara
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för tillämpad utbildningsvetenskap, Centrum för utvärderingsforskning (UCER).
    Practices of exclusion?: Complaints, gender and power in education2014Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores representations of gender 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 the use of parents/students complaints to the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (SSI) and the Child and School Student Representative (CSSR). The paper focuses on the historic development of complaints and the logics underpinning its increased legalization and use. The marketization of education simultaneously tend to construct a politics of accountability and blame visible in inspection, evaluations, quality audits and ranking list. These examples of increased state control in school is part of an audit explosion as the solution to several ‘problems’ in school. What has not to the same extent been explored in this governing by evaluation is the increase in filed complaints. This appears to put more emphasis on legal claims where the individual’s right according to law is at the center, marginalizing structural and contextual factors and risking a juridification of politics. I argue that this constructs new forms of citizenship more in line with a legal rather than a political framework where the dominant logic of individual rights, and discourses of failing boys work to exclude considerations of the effects of gender and other dimensions of difference/marginalization. Emphasis on student rights have been closely connected to market logics of competition, choice and students as costumers. The two discourses seem to legitimize and reinforce each other so that social and cultural aspects of governance are neglected.

  • 12.
    Carlbaum, Sara
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.
    Reforming education: Gendered constructions of future workers2011Ingår i: Tracking discourses: Politics, identity and social change / [ed] Annika Egan Sjölander & Jenny Gunnarsson Payne, Lund: Nordic Academic Press , 2011, s. 79-111Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Refereegranskat)
  • 13.
    Carlbaum, Sara
    et al.
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för tillämpad utbildningsvetenskap.
    Hult, Agneta
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Pedagogiska institutionen.
    Lindgren, Joakim
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Pedagogiska institutionen.
    Novak, Judit
    Institutionen vid pedagogik, didaktik och utbildningsstudier, Uppsala universitet, Uppsala.
    Rönnberg, Linda
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för tillämpad utbildningsvetenskap.
    Segerholm, Christina
    Avdelningen för utbildningsvetenskap, Mittuniversitetet, Härnösand.
    Skolinspektion som styrning2014Ingår i: Utbildning och Demokrati, ISSN 1102-6472, E-ISSN 2001-7316, Vol. 23, nr 1, s. 5-20Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Governing by school inspection. In this article we argue that school inspection is an important and potentially influential way of governing education that deserves additional scholarly attention. This introductory article aims to situate and describe the origin, theoretical foundations and methods and materials gathered in the three research projects included in this special issue. We also briefly describe some important characteristics of the Swedish school inspection and finish off with short introductions to the six articles.

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