07 SES 09 C JS, Social Justice and Innovative Educational Leadership Part 1
Joint Paper Session NW 07 and NW 26 to be continued in 07 SES 11 D JS
A growing body of social-psychological research examines the role of diversity ideologies in intergroup relations. Colorblindness and multiculturalism are two prominent ideologies for advocating diversity in society. They share the goals of well-functioning intergroup relations and equality, but endeavor to achieve these goals with opposing strategies. Studies have demonstrated that both these strategies are succesful in reducing biased and ethno-centric attitudes, but with some diverging effects; more research of their emergence and influence in
naturalistic environments is called for (Rattan
& Ambady 2013). This study uses these diversity ideologies and their known effects as an interpretative framework in analyzing the diversity beliefs and policies of Finnish and Swedish principals who work in multicultural urban comprehensive schools. The research questions are: 1) What kind of diversity beliefs the principals hold and how are these beliefs implemented in the diversity policies they promote? 2) How do these beliefs vary situationally, contextually, and according to different forms of diversity? 3) How are the differences in the respective educational systems of Finland and Sweden reflected in the principals diversity ideologies and policies?
The data of these qualitative study include semi-structured interviews with Finnish (n=10) and Swedish (n=10) principals or vice-principals from multiculrual urban comprehensive schools. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed by means of abductive qualitative content analysis. Finland and Sweden are interesting contexts for this study, since they are becoming increasingly multicultural, albeit a little later and at a slower pace than some of the most multicultural European countries, and implement rather strong multicultural policies. They are countries with traditionally strong levels of social trust, but currently experiencing polarization through increasing social, economic, ethnic, and cultural divides (see Delhey and Newton 2005). However, Sweden has a longer history of immigration and a significantly greater immigrant population. Interesting differences regarding the discourses of multiculturalism in the National core curricula of these countries also exist: the Finnish curriculum employs a strong non-essentialist discourse of cultural identities by articulating diversity as a feature of all students, while the Swedish curriculum is surprisingly silent about diversity, and makes a distinction between the students’ ‘own origins’ and the ‘common heritage’ (the latter including ‘basic values of Swedish society’) in a relatively essentializing manner (Zilliacus, Paulsrud, and Holm 2017).
According to the preliminary results, colorblind strategies are common among the principals of both countries. However, the strategies seem to vary with respect to different forms of diversity; while the multicultural beliefs and policies are rather commonly applied when dealing with the diversity of languages and language identities, color-blindness appears to be the prevalent ideology for the accommodation of religious diversity. This finding raises a discussion of the secular normativity of the schools and the possible benefits and hindrances of religion-blind policies for the inclusion of religious minorities in school communities. Furthermore, the results indicate that the country-specific differences in the curricula are also reflected in the diversity ideologies of the principals, with Swedish principals putting a strong emphasis on Swedish values as the basis for developing inclusive school communities.
Delhey, J. and Newton, K. (2005). “Predicting cross-national levels of social trust: Global pattern or nordic exceptionalism?” European sociological review 21(4): 311-327. Rattan, A. & Ambady, N. Diversity ideologies and intergroup relations: An examination of colorblindness and multiculturalism. European Journal of Social Psychology 43, 12-21. Zilliacus, H., Paulsrud, B. & Holm, G. (2017). “Essentializing vs. non-essentializing students’ cultural identities: curricular discourses in Finland and Sweden.” Journa of Multicultural Discourses, DOI: 10.1080/17447143.2017.1311335
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
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
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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