07 SES 03 B, Inclusion of Diversity
The presentation builds partly on the research behind my PhD dissertation Equality through differential treatment? All day schools and bussing as explicit differential treatment of ethnic minority children and expression of current tendencies (2012) and partly on new theoretically informed reflections on current developments of the welfare state as well as perspectives on the current European refugee crisis.
The research questions are: How is differential treatment of ethnic minority children in Danish public schools legitimated and how can this be seen as an expression of current developments of society on a macro level?
This question leads to answering the broader question: How can cases of political decision on educational initiatives directed at ethnic minority children to be viewed as expressions of the welfare state transforming into a competition state and/or social investment state?
The case analysed is the Danish policy of bussing of ethnic minority children who are chosen on basis of a language screening. This bussing policy has been practiced since 2005. In order to “include” these children, who mainly live in underprivileged neighbourhoods, they are bussed to schools in more privileged areas where the majority of the children have a middle or upper class background and Danish as their mother tongue. However the bussing is not voluntary and hence the children are deprived of their right to attend the local public school.
This analysis of this case is used as point of departure for a discussion of current societal developments with a main focus on the theories on the welfare state transforming into a competition state and/or social investment state. According to such theories, the welfare state, instituted to protect its citizens, is developing into state first and foremost aiming at mobilizing its citizens and investing in their ‘human resources’ for them to take part in the struggle for the state to be competitive. The downside of this development is that so-called non-productive citizens such as unemployed, chronically ill, or newly arrived refugees increasingly are seen as risk factors or even threats and not primarily as humans worthy of protection from risks. The presentation will argue that a new paradigm focusing on competition, production, and investment is leading to politically legitimated exceptions from rights at a micro level, in this instance with regard to ethnic minority children.
Hence, it is argued that the case of bussing exemplifies how language proficiency is seen as the principal trait of ethnic minority children, and how bilingualism is related to conceived threats and claims of exceptional actions and policies. It is discussed whether the case may be seen as an expression of racism (as critics traditionally claim) or as expression of a development towards a competition state, related to a social state of exception, which deprives certain groups of their rights (Jacobsen 2015).
The objectives of the presentation is to explore how and why such micro level policies may be seen as related to macro level trends and developments, and how such a perspective can qualify and contribute to an understanding of social injustice and inequality in education in particular with regard to ethnic minorities. In the Danish case, racialized discourses, policies and practices seem to overlap and intersect with discourses and policies on employability and productivity in a novel and complex way.
The main theoretical positions drawn on are theories on risk society (Beck 1992), competition state (Cerny 1997, Pedersen 2013), social investment state (Abrahamson 2015, Kvist 2015, 2016) and Agamben’s (2005) theory of state of exception which has inspired to a concept of differential treatment of minority children as micro exceptions (Jacobsen 2012).
Abrahamson, P. (2015). Denmark from an International Perspective. T.T. Bengtsson, M. Frederiksen, & J.E. Larsen (eds.), The Danish Welfare State: A Sociological Investigation. (25-39). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Agamben, G. (2005). State of Exception. Chicago: University of Chicago Press Bengtsson, T.T., Frederiksen, M., & Larsen, J.E. (2015). Is Risk Transforming The Danish Welfare State? T.T. Bengtsson, M. Frederiksen, & J.E. Larsen (eds.), The Danish Welfare State: a Sociological Investigation (3-21). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Beck, U. (1992). Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. New Delhi: Sage Cerny, P.G. (1997). Paradoxes of the Competition State. The Dynamics of Political Globalization. Government and Opposition, 32(2), 251-274. Hammershøj, L.G. (2015). Diagnosis of the times vs description of society. Current Sociology, 63(2), 140-154. Jacobsen, G.H. (2012). Lighed gennem særbehandling? Heldagsskoler og spredning som ekspliciteret særbehandling af etniske minoritetsbørn og udtryk for aktuelle tendenser. PhD thesis, University of Copenhagen. Jacobsen, G.H. (2015). Bussing of Ethnic Minority Children – Rights and Duties in Education in a Welfare and Competition State, in Jacobsen (ed.): Rights of Children in the Nordic Welfare States – Conceptual and Empirical Enquiries (73-95). NSU Press/Aarhus University Press. Kvist, J. (2015). Social investments as risk management. T.T. Bengtsson, M. Frederiksen, & J.E. Larsen (eds.), The Danish Welfare State: a Sociological Investigation (41-56). New York: Palgrave Macmillan Kvist, J. (2016). Fighting poverty and exclusion through social investment: A European research perspective: a policy review. Pedersen, O. K. (2013). Political Globalization and the Competition State. B. Brincker (ed.), Introduction to Political Sociology. (281-298) .København: Hans Reitzel.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
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Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
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Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
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Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
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Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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