To make the Right Choice: Dividing practices and governing in the Swedish school

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To make the Right Choice: Dividing practices and governing in the Swedish school

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Publication Conference Paper, other
Title To make the Right Choice: Dividing practices and governing in the Swedish school
Author(s) Axelsson, Thom
Date 2007-10
English abstract
At the beginning of the 20th century it was seen as a democratic right to educate each individual based on their natural ability, but relationships between the individual and society were not without problems. Different talent categories were seen to be adapted for different social tasks. As a way of bridging the opposition that could arise between the individual’s educational wishes and society’s interests it was a central task of the school to lead the pupils to come to the decision themselves to want to make the right choices depending on ability and capability. From the 1920s onwards elementary schools were given a more important role in guidance and vocational training of the pupils. The modernisation of society demanded a modernising of the individual and thus new steering techniques were required. There was a fear that the less talented would develop asociality, criminality and a hostile attitude to society if they did not receive a suitable education. It was seen as waste of time for the individual and a waste of money for the State to allow less talented children to study further at higher forms of school. At the same time it was therefore essential to establish those that were more suited to higher and more theoretical types of schooling. The discussion about talent mainly dealt with the concept of democracy and that which was defined as best for society – and with that, everyone. But how was a divided school justified in a democratic society that built on meritocratic ideals? What methods were used to forming and steering future citizens in the desirable direction? How were they made to making the “right choice” of education, and how were people who were not capable of this treated? Theoretic inspiration has been derived from Michel Foucault and Mitchell Dean, which gives a starting point that emphasises the connection between the formation of knowledge and power.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) school
social organisation
Humanities/Social Sciences
Note Citizenship Education in Society - A challenge for the Nordic countries
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