19 SES 03, Ethics and Research in Educational Ethnography (Part 2)
Symposium continued from 19 SES 02
The Swedish education system has been thoroughly transformed in the last few decades and is today built on school choice and competition as in other parts of the world. Sweden has been a pioneer with engineering market liberal ideas in the welfare sector and previous studies show that the Swedish educational system is largely driven by market principles. Sweden's school market consists today of a mix of public and private/independent free schools. They all compete on an Open Market. All education is tax financed through a voucher imposed under the early 1990's (Hudson 2007, Lundahl, Erixon Arreman, Holm & Lundström, 2013). The combination of generous tax-funding, weak regulation and the possibility of profit-making made the system more market-oriented than many other private school systems around the world (Chubb 2007; Björklund et al. 2005; Lubienski 2009). Strong market elements such as aggressive competition and profit-making, has taken place faster and more radically than in most other places (Bunar 2010; Lundahl et al. 2013, Lundahl in press). A school's survival is highly dependent on it’s success in recruiting students and is in many ways competing and marketing themselves by demonstrating their uniqueness (Dovemark in press). In Sweden there are different venues where schools can marketize themselves and lure costumers. Except of marketing material there are venues like Upper Secondary School Fairs and Open Houses. Public events where I, as a researcher gain access without consent. I can do my field notes based on my own experiences, with few opportunities to ask questions about how I or the involved experience the field. I write down what I hear different people say and how they act on these occasions. A ‘practice of representing the social reality of others through the analysis of one’s own experience in the world of these others” (Van Maanen 1888, ix). You walk around taking in the atmosphere, observing the influx to various stands, how the different schools market themselves (what the booths look like, the marketing material/brochures, people in the stands), talk with various 'marketers', ie students and staff representing their schools (if it is possible). Maybe I even follow/shadow the involved to see what their next step will be. The question is whether this is ethical or not? What kinds of representations are made? What kind of issues can be raised?
Björklund, A., Clark, M.A., Edin, P-A, Fredriksson, P. & Kreuger A.B. (2005): The Market comes to Education in Sweden: An Evaluation of Sweden’s Surprising School Reforms. Tillgänglig 20160923 Bunar, N. (2010) Choosing for quality or inequality: current perspectives on the implementation of school choice policy in Sweden. Journal of Education Policy, 25(1) 1-18. Chubb, J.E. (2007) Kommentar: Att få ut det mesta möjliga av marknaden. In Friskolorna och framtiden – segregation, kost- nader och effektivitet, ed. Anders Lindbom, 51–7. Stockholm: Institutet för framtidsstudier. Dovemark, M. (in press) Utbildning till salu – konkurrens, differentiering och varumärken, Utbildning & Demokrati. Hudson, C. (2007) Governing the Governance of Education: the state strikes back. European Educational Research Journal, 6(3), 266-282. Lubienski, C. (2009) Do quasi-markets foster innovation in education? A comparative perspective. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 25. Paris: OECD Publishing. Lundahl, L (in press). Marketization of the Urban Educational Space. In W. T. Pink & G.W. Noblit, eds, Second International Handbook of Urban Education. London: Springer. Lundahl, L., Erixon A.I., Holm, A-S. & Lundström, U. (2013) Educational marketization the Swedish way. Education Inquiry 4 (3), 497-517. Van Maanen, J. (1988) Tales of the field. On writing Ethnography. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
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