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The therapeutic trend in youth education: A question of finding one’s ‘innermost’ in order to become more qualified collective beings in society – Sweden as a case
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Educational Work. (Pedagogiskt ledarskap)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3160-7561
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
2016 (English)In: NERA 2016 Social Justice, Equality and Solidarity in Education, 2016Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The presentation takes its point of departure in the relatively new international phenomenon of therapeutic education. This phenomenon is part of the commissioned task in the Nordic countries and internationally to see to the emotional formation of young people in youth education. Taking on Swedish teacher descriptions of how this task is played out in the classroom, we highlight emotional rationales that emerge in these descriptions. In addition, we discuss how these rationales relate to a normative project of fostering qualified collective beings, partly by encouraging the students to search for their “innermost” in order to share it with each other and thereby making their innermost a matter for the collective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Education and Learning
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-23076OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-23076DiVA: diva2:968832
NERA, Nordic Educational Research Conference, 2016, Helsingfors University, Finland, 9-11 March

Presented at the joint symposium "A global epidemic of mental ill-health? Interdisciplinary perspectives on the educational implications of reconfiguring social, economic and human crises".

Symposium abstract: This collaborative Symposia is for researchers who share an interest in trying to understand the social, political and educational roots and outcomes of an era of ‘multiple crises’.  It responds to a phenomenon in growing numbers of countries around the world for policy makers, media pundits, researchers and citizens themselves to depict apocryphal discourses of crisis.  These range from parenting and education, to civic engagement, capitalism itself, the legitimacy of the state and its agencies, experts and authority.    Amidst these crises, mental health, emotional well-being and vulnerability, have taken centre stage.  Claims from the World Health Organisation that we face a global epidemic of mental ill-health intertwine with claims that we face unprecedented levels of civic disengagement, educational disaffection, poor parenting and economic recession.  In many countries, educational settings have become key sites for rising levels of both targeted and generic psycho-emotional interventions.   Leaving aside the stark and pessimistic tones of crisis discourses, it does seem that there is a crisis of mental health amongst rising numbers of children, young people and adults.  There has been a big increase in diagnosis of syndromes, disorders and other psychological conditions and in prescribed drugs and compulsory specialist interventions, state-sponsored programmes in kindergarten/nurseries, schools, vocational, adult and higher education.  But more widely, images of psycho-emotional vulnerability has led to a big rise in programmes to develop competences and attributes of emotional literacy, emotional management, resilience, empathy and self-esteem.  And the language of trauma, abuse, stress, anxiety, depression and vulnerability is everywhere, from policy texts to everyday work and home conversations, and teachers’ discussions about their students.   Untangling and making sense of the nature and extent of a crisis of mental health is far from easy.  It demands imaginative, inter-disciplinary and open minded debate.  Can we explain a preoccupation with mental health as a re-defining of everyday life and challenges as part of what some sociologists and educationalists call ‘therapeutic culture’?  Is it predominantly a social construction exploited and fuelled by global drug companies and the wider psychology industry?  Or do governments unable to address intractable structural social and economic crisis benefit by attributing crisis to individuals’ weak psychological resilience? Is it that governments are trying to toughen us up psychologically to meet the demands of a highly competitive, neo-liberal, marketised world? What images of human subjects are implicated in these discourses and questions?  More practically, what role does formal and informal education, at all levels, have in addressing these questions and in developing resilience?

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

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