17 SES 06, Theory & Methodology (Part 2)
Paper Session continued from 17 SES 05
This study is part of the comparative project Who has governed the Swedish school?, which started out in 2014. The project aim is to compare over-time variations in balance between municipal and national school governing in different Swedish municipalities. In times of increased globalization and Europeanization, the national level has been challenged as the prime unit of educational policy analysis. This has generated an increased interest for international policy studies, which by time also has led to a stronger interest for regional and local policy making. With this paper, we intend to contribute to the development of curriculum theory, by illuminating and problematizing the significance of local school policy in the processes of school making, including school reforms.
Municipal activities concerning school matters has to a large extent been neglected in historical school policy research in Sweden, even though municipalities always have been important school policy actors (Roman et. al. 2015). The Swedish school system generally has relied on a complex balance between national, regional and local governing and responsibilities. Thus our project pays attention to how municipal variations – in terms of educational and socio-economic resources, local initiatives and decisiveness – have affected municipal responses to national school reforms. We have traced local school policy events in three very different municipalities during two bundles of reforms, carried out in the 1960s, and in the 1990s. The two reform eras represent two opposite approaches to the explicit Swedish “school for all”- ideal, i.e. national efforts for increased equality/equity. In the reforms of the 1960s, this ideal was associated with standardization and centralization. In the 1990s, decentralization implied increased municipal responsibility in order to make school more adapted to local needs and conditions.
In this paper, we discuss the Swedish reform visions of increased equality/equity from a historio-geographical perspective. Both reform waves were primarily promoted as vehicles for improving education opportunities for every individual student. This implied improved local conditions, especially with regards to disadvantaged regions and communities, in terms of location, educational resources, unemployment etc. But how were the reforms of the 1960s and the 1990s handled by different municipalities and how did this in turn affect their local educational resources? The historio-geographical perspective (Cf. Linné 2012) enables an exploration of local school policy actions both as a national reform component and as a force of its own. We argue for this as an important contribution to curriculum theory, in the Scandinavian tradition developed by Dahllöf (1967), Lundgren (1972) and Englund (1986), focusing on the societal and political prerequisites for understanding education and educational change. More specifically, we elaborate on the concept of geographical justice (see Methods/methodology below) within and between different local policy-arenas. Our concept is partly linked to the concept of spatial justice (Soja 2010, Clement & Kanai 2015), although the latter is primarily developed in relation to conditions of ethnic minorities in segregated neighborhoods and districts, usually in accompany with the critical-normative ambition to formulate solutions for more equal and just conditions for individuals.
To support our theoretical claim, we also relate to international research on decentralization, marketization and globalization (cf. Ball et al 2007; Hopmann 2008; Schriewer 2009; Lawn & Grek 2012). Combining the national gaze of curriculum theory with the global perspective on educational development constitutes an analytical framework where the historical comparison of local school policy in different Swedish municipalities is related to local, national and transnational policy arenas. These arenas are understood as intertwined, constituting a socio-political context in which local policy makers has to navigate, a context where time and space increasingly tend to merge into the same reality (Nóvoa & Yariv-Mashal, 2003).
Ball, S. J., Goodson, I. & Maguire, M. (red.) (2007). Education, globalisation, and new times. Oxon: Routledge. Brenner, N. (2004). New state spaces: urban governance and the rescaling of statehood. Oxford University Press. Clement, D. & Kanai, M (2015). "The Detroit Future City: How Pervasive Neoliberal Urbanism Exacerbates Racialized Spatial Injustice", American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 59, no. 3, pp. 369-385. Dahllöf, U. (1967). Skoldifferentiering och undervisningsförlopp: Komparativa mål – och processanalyser av skolsystem. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. Englund, T. (1986). Curriculum as a political problem: changing educational conceptions, with special reference to citizenship education. Diss.Uppsala University. Hopmann, S T (2008). No child, no school, no state left behind: schooling in the age of accountability. Journal of Curriculum Studies 2008, Vol. 40, No. 4, 417–456. Linné, A. (2012): Läroplansteori mellan rum, tid och handling, In: Englund, T., Forsberg, E. & Sundberg, D. (red.) (2012). Vad räknas som kunskap?: läroplansteoretiska utsikter och inblickar i lärarutbildning och skola. (1. uppl.) Stockholm: Liber. Lundgren, U.P. (1972). Frame factors and the teaching process: A contribution to curriculum theory and theory on teaching (Dissertation). University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Nóvoa, A. & Yariv-Mashal, T. (2003). Comparative Research in Education: A Mode of Governance or a Historical Journey? Comparative Education, 39(4), 423-438. Popkewitz, T. Franklin, B. & Pereyra, M. (Eds) (2001). Cultural History and Education. New York: RoutledgeFalmer. Ringarp, J. (2011). Professionens problematik. Lärarkårens kommunalisering och välfärdsstatens förändring, Göteborg/Stockholm: Makadam. Román, H. (2013a). I valfrihetens tidevarv. Friskoledebatt i fullmäktige 1980-2010. In T. Nilsson (Ed.), Privatisering, miljö och EU i Stockholmspolitiken (pp. 45-86). Stockholm: Stockholmia. Román, H. (2013b). Stockholm, friskolornas huvudstad. In T. Nilsson (Ed.), Privatisering, miljö och EU i Stockholmspolitiken (pp. 87-115). Stockholm: Stockholmia. Román, H. (2014). Från folkskoleinspektion till utbildningsförvaltning. Stockholms skolförvaltning efter 1958: Svensk skola i ett kommunalpolitiskt perspektiv Stockholm: Utbildningsforvaltningen, Stockholms stad. Román, H. et al (2015). Who governs the Swedish school? Local school policy research from a historical and transnational curriculum theory perspective. Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, 1, p. 81-94. Schriewer, J. (2011). Discourse Formation in Comparative Education, 4th,Revis edn, Peter Lang GmbH, Europaischer Verlag der Wissenschaften, Bern 9;Frankfurt am Main. Soja, Edward W. (2010). Postmodern geographies – the reassertion of space in critical social theory. London: Verso Books. Steiner-Khamsi, G. & Waldow, F. (eds) (2012). Policy Borrowing and Lending in Education. London: Routledge. Stille, A. (2002) The Future of the Past. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.
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