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Individualisation in the citizen formation in Swedish adult education
Linköpings universitet.
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Educational Work. Stockholms universitet, Högskolan i Skövde. (forskargruppen SO-didaktik)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1776-478X
Linköpings universitet.
Linköpings universitet.
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2016 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this article we have analysed the ways a discourse on individualisation is taking shape within adult education in Sweden, how it operates, and what effects it has in terms of shaping student subjectivity. Drawing on a post-structural theorisation we analyse interviews with teachers and students in municipal adult education (MAE) and folk high schools (FHS). The analysis illustrates how both institutions contribute to the shaping of individualised subjectivities, although differently. At the end, a general question is raised about what happens with the democratic function of adult education in general, when a discourse on individualisation operates in the ways described, and more specifically, asks what is happening to FHS as an educational practice, that upholds its self-image as a last bastion of a collective notion of learning and subjectivity, and nurturing an educational practice of learning democracy? 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. 1-16 p.
Keyword [en]
adult education, popular education, individualisation, folk high schools, municipal adult education, governmentality
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Education and Learning
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-23073OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-23073DiVA: diva2:968829
ESREA: 8th Triennial European Research Conference, Maynooth, Dublin University, 8-11 September 2016

Presented in the joint symposium "Citizenship education, democracy and the market".

Symposium abstract: Education is not only a matter of knowledge and skills provision, but also of training - of formation of citizens. Education is characterized by an ambition to secure two historically established principles; that of democracy and that of the market. These two principles interact and mobilize both collective and individually oriented notions of what it means to be a citizen in different educational levels. Taking Sweden as a case (för att det är svenska reffar till svensk empiri??, although far from entirely or exclusively, the former can be seen as more collective and the latter more individually adapted in this respect (Carlbaum 2012; Dovemark 2004; Olson & Dahlstedt 2014).   The centrality of the two principles of democracy and the market, and their tension-filled relationship in educational citizen formation over time, has lately been problematized (cf. Molnar, 2006; Sandlin, Burdick and Norris, 2012). Not least the historical change in which the market increasingly has come to be denoted as a situation in which several educational providers compete to accomplish public tasks (cf. Ball and Yodell, 2008). The vitality of the principles and of the tension between them has been identified as being particularly influential in post-war Swedish education policy (Englund 1999; Lundahl 2006; Dahlstedt 2009; Lundahl and Olson, 2013). However, less emphasis has been put on the role of this tension-filled relationship in education in relation to its commissioned task of citizen formation in policy and practice. This is not least the case in adult education, and educational practice that is assigned to live up to practically the same commissioned objectives as compulsory and upper secondary school.   In this symposium the focus is directed at how these tensions between democracy and market is played out in contemporary Swedish adult education. More specifically, the focus is put on the formation of citizens within formal (municipal adult education [MAE]) as well as non-formal adult education (folk high schools [FHS]). How do students construct themselves as citizens? What are the material and discursive conditions for such constructions? How does such constructions relate to the ways in which teachers construct students as citizen subjects?    The symposium is based on an on-going research project on citizenship education within and beyond adult and popular education. The data consists of 67 interviews with students and ten interviews with teachers within one school for MAE and one FHS. Students were asked to document their daily citizenship activities with a pen camera for 1-2 weeks, after which they were individually interviewed with a focus on what they had documented/not documented, and why. Interviews with teachers’ focused on their work with citizenship education within their teaching. Interviews were also complemented by collection and analysis of policy documents on adult and popular education.   The papers in this symposium, problematize different aspects of issues of citizenship education, drawing on post structural theorisations inspired by the work of Michel Foucault, as well as more critical theoretical perspectives inspired by authors such as Beverly Skeggs.

Available from: 2016-09-12 Created: 2016-09-12 Last updated: 2016-09-15Bibliographically approved

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