07 SES 02 A, Intercultural Education and Identity Development
This study focuses on views of life and identity formation among upper secondary students in a classroom context in Sweden. Through observations and informal conversations with the students the data shows that some of the classroom situations appear as especially sensitive to views of life and identity formation and that a couple of topics are at stake. This paper focuses one of these situations, a lesson where the young people challenge each other in a game, “the hot chair”. The young people´s negotiations are analyzed in relation to the rules of the game, but also in relation to the framework of the fundamental values which are official in the school policy in Sweden. The fundamental democratic valueson which the Swedish school is based are respect for human rights and differences, individual freedom and integrity, equality and solidarity (Läroplan, examensmål och gymnasiegemensamma ämnen för gymnasieskolan, 2011).
A special assignment for teachers in Sweden is to implement the fundamental values among the pupils. But schools and classrooms also play a role as a public space where young people's individual views of life are formed in relation to values among friends. Hanna Arends (1958/1998) description of "public space reality" as a common meeting place where everyone gathered occupy different places and positions, is about everyone contributing their aspects. "To be seen and heard by others derive their significance from the fact that everyone sees and hears from a different starting point" (p 91). According to views of life Osbeck (2011) shows that a norm system is based on empirical experience and it may be interesting to raise the question of how norms and values, that are important aspects of views of life, are anchored, and consolidated in classroom situations.
Views of life is a research tradition with roots in religious studies (Jeffner, 1973) and is in this study perceived as ongoing positions of articulations which change over time and space and involves issues of values, ethics, philosophy and even the conditions of human existence (von Brömssen, 2006; Osbeck, 2006; Risenfors, 2011).Thus, the school require demands and expectations based on school policy goals, but the school is also an arena where demands and expectations from family and friends are negotiated. Negotiations and reflections on views of life are also linked to negotiations and reflections on identity. Who am I, and how do I express myself? Lessons can act as "stagings" that create and recreate views of life and identity issues both verbally and non-verbally in class or in other environments (Lawler, 2008; Yuval Davis, 2011).
The theoretical approach is based on performativity (Loxley, 2007); that is actions creating identity, not vice versa. Identity is formed through repetition; by constantly repeating the same 'idem', we define ourselves and each other (Lawler, 2008). Articulations of views of life and identity occur both linguistically and "non-linguistically" (costume, opinions, dialects or postures). But views of life and identity formation can also be brought to a head by performance, which represent another ontology than performativity, in this case the rules of the game which can challenge views of life and identity and get sensitive questions to a head (Loxley, 2007; Parker et al 1995; Şiray, 2009).
The study aims to investigate how subject positions about views of life and identity can be made possible in a classroom situation which is surrounded by two strong value discourses, the school's values and the rules of a game, when the young people are testing the limits for indignity.
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