23 SES 02 D, Democratisation and Autonomy
Juridification is a multifaceted phenomenon that has attracted extensive international scholarly interest (Teubner 1998, Blichner & Molander 2008). Broadly, it can be said to encompass both positive and negative aspects of democratization within the modern welfare state that involves a general increase in legal and regulative processes as means to resolve social and moral problems related to social inclusion and exclusion, recognition and misrecognition. Juridification in education has been studied and problematized in relation to education policy, governing and school inspection (e.g. Hult & Segerholm, 2016, Novak 2018), and also consequences for teachers’ work in school (e.g. Bergh & Arneback 2016, Gibson 2013, Runesdotter 2016). Since 2010 Swedish teachers and other school staff are obliged to report incidents of degrading treatment in school to the governing body and directly investigate and act on these incidents (SFS 2010:800). Overall, schools’ work against degrading behaviour is characterized by increasing awareness of formal obligations and rights and expanding forms of investigations and documentation. Our interest here is focused on how such changes affects students’ socialisation and identity. From this perspective juridification draws attention to developments where social integration and more intuitive forms of everyday communication, norms and values becomes reified by legal logic (Habermas 1987). Honneth (2014) has offered examples of social pathologies resulting from juridification. In the words of Loick (2014: 766) these pathologies take the form of ethical injuries or distortions which makes it difficult for “individuals appropriatively (sic!) to re-enact established social practices” (Loick, 2014: 766).
In previous studies, based on interviews with teachers, concerns are raised about such problematic consequences of juridification in education (Hult & Lindgren 2016). This study is a first attempt to address this problematic. The overall aim of the study is to explore how new judicial forms of work against degrading treatment in Swedish schools affect young people’s socialisation and identity. We analyse interviews with students from grade five and grade eight when reasoning about degrading treatment: How do they define degrading treatment? How they react to and act in situations involving degrading treatment?
This paper is part of an on-going project studying effects and consequences of new forms of work against degrading treatment in Swedish schools, with a focus on students’ socialisation and identity development through interviews with children, parents, school staff, head teachers and municipal officials. Although juridification in education has been detectable for quite a while and has been studied through documents (e.g. Carlbaum 2016, Lindgren, et al. 2012) it is notoriously difficult to empirically identify effects on school practices, socialisation and students identity. However, school actors, especially those working long time in school have contributed to illuminate some consequences of juridification (e.g. Hult & Lindgren 2016). Even though students do not have direct access to historical perspectives including experiences of changes in school we still find it interesting and important to find out how they think and reason in the light of changes in schools’ work against degrading treatment in times of juridification. For this paper we analyse interviews with 28 grade five students (age 10-11 years) and 37 grade eight students (13-14 years). The interviews were performed in two municipalities and in two schools in each municipality. The students could choose if they wanted to be interviewed with one or two friends or individually. All in all 34 interviews (13 in grade five and 21 in grade eight) were done with students, most of them with two students each and mostly lasting about 30 minutes. The interviews were fully transcribed and in a first step thoroughly read in order to find different ways of how students react and act in situations of degrading treatment. Statements from grade five students and grade eight students were analysed separately in order to find similarities and differences between students of different age, since former teacher interviews had indicated possible differences (Hult & Lindgren 2016). In the first step also, the interviews will be related to Cohen’s (2005) four approaches to conflict resolution (see also Hakvoort 2008).
In this paper we expect to generate a range of deductive codes that will render possible forthcoming analysis in the project concerning differences between municipalities and schools when it comes to work against degrading treatment. Young people are generally knowledgeable about the topic and this awareness appears to bring about expectations when it comes to actions and measures in school against any such behaviour. Students often try to settle problems by themselves, but they also want teachers to intervene and investigate. According to students, teachers often fail to recognize, understand and manage problems with degrading behaviour. Overall, the results show that young people’s life in school is not ‘colonized’ by legal logics, rather their way of reasoning indicate amalgamation where identity and ways of understanding degrading treatment includes traces of juridification. For example, extensive investigations in school about degrading treatment paradoxically appear to fuel fear of sharing information with teachers (eg. “snitching”). Moreover, humor – which is a crucial dimension of the social fabric that fills purposes of both identity construction (Norrick 2010) and cognitive development (Vygotsky 1978) – appears to be increasingly risky and problematic for young people as internal jargon is frequently experienced as offensive and degrading by outsiders. Such results brings this study in contact with wider discussions of social change in terms of intolerance, entitlement, resentment and resilience.
Bergh, A. & Arneback, E. (2016). Hur villkorar juridifieringen lärarprofessionens arbete med skolans kunskaper och värdegrund? [How does juridification condition the teaching profession’s work with educational knowledgr and values?]. Utbildning & Demokrati, 25(1). Blichner, L.C., and Molander, A. (2008). Mapping juridification. European Law Journal, 14(1). Carlbaum, s. (2016). Juridifiering och utbildningsval- Konsekvenser av elevers och studenters rättigheter. [Juridification and choice of education- Consequences of student rights]. Utbildning & Demokrati, 25(1). Cohen, R. (2005). Students resolving conflict. Peer mediation in schools. Culver City, CA: Good Year Books. Gibson, H. (2013). Home-school agreements: explaining the growth of 'juridification' and contractualism in schools. Oxford Review of Education, 39(6). Hakvoort, I. (2008). The conflict pyramid: a holistic approach to structuring conflict resolution in schools. Journal of Peace Education, 7(2). Honneth, A. (2014) Freedom’s Right: The Social Foundations of Democratic Life. New York: Columbia University Press. Hult, A., and J. Lindgren (2016). Med lagen som rättesnöre - kunskapsformer i lärares arbete mot kränkande behandling. [Judging by the (law) book- Knowledge forms in teachers’ work against degrading behviour] Utbildning & Demokrati, 25(1). Lindgren, J., Hult, A., Segerholm, C. & Rönnberg, L. (2012). Mediating school inspection- Key dimensions and key words in agency text production 2003-2010. Education Inquiry, 3(4). Loick, D. (2014). Juridification and politics: From the dilemma of juridification to the paradoxes of rights. Philosophy and Social Criticism, 40(8). Norrick, N. R. (2010) A Theory of Humor in Interaction. Journal of Literary Theory, 3(2). Runesdotter, C. (2016). Avregleringens pris? Om juridifieringen av svensk skolaur skolaktörers perspektiv. [The price of deregulation? Juridification in Swedish schools from the perspective of school actors]. Utbildning & Demokrati, 25(1). SFS. 2010:800. Skollag [Education Act of 2010.] Retrieved from http://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/ svensk-forfattningssamling/skollag-2010800_sfs-2010-800 Teubner, G. (1987). Juridification. Concepts, aspects, limits, solutions. In G. Teubner (Ed.). Juridification of social spheres: A comparative analysis in the areas of labor, corporate, antitrust and social welfare law. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society: Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge: Harvard university press.
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