23 SES 16 A, Doing democracy. Research Perspectives on Risks and Responsibilities within a Marketised Education Part 2
Symposium continued from 23 SES 14 A
The aim for the paper is to elucidate and discuss if and how neoliberal governance effect how citizenship and subject positions of citizenship can emerge in education. A general aim for compulsory education is to prepare people to participate in their society. In most western societies, this is based on the notion that democracy needs to be both maintained and developed. Consequently, there is a close relation between education and democracy. On the other hand, today schools largely are governed by national and international tests and measuring regimes. Students, teachers, schools, and nations are assessed and compared based on outcomes of tests, preferably in natural sciences, mathematics, and literacy. In 2018, schoolchildren took public political action. Two cases, discussed in this paper, are The March for our Lives and the School Strike for the Climate. March for Our Lives was a response to the school shooting at Parkland High School, Florida. After the shooting, students gathered in large masses demanding gun control. School Strike for the Climate is an initiative from the Swedish student Greta Thunberg. On Fridays, she goes on school strike to protest outside the Swedish parliament. Her initiative has become global. Schoolchildren from different parts of the world school strike accusing politicians and industrialists of destroying the earth. The initiators of the two cases base their activism on school experiences, and they articulate their protests from positions as pupils. The paper draws on Biesta’s (2006, 2010) explorations of relations between education, citizenship, and democracy. Political subjectivity is understood as taking action in order to bring about political changes. It is a subjectivity that emerges in situation with concurring norms and contradictory interpellations where it becomes obvious that it is possible to understand society as well as oneself in multiple and contrary ways (Reimers and Martinsson 2017). The data for the paper consist of social and traditional media representing political actions of children. The focus for the analyses are how relations between political subjectivity and education are articulated, in relation to overarching discourses of poor results on international and national tests, as well as discourses of a democracy in crisis. The results destabilize the dichotomy between schools as spaces where individuals learn facts and as spaces forming society. It shows how schools and those who inhabit them are continuously formed by as well as forming, society.
Biesta, G. (2006). Beyond Learning. Democratic Education for a Human Future. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers. Biesta, G. (2010). Good Education in an Age of Measurement. Ethics, Politics, Democracy. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers. Reimers, E., Martinsson, L. (2017). Education and Political Subjectivities in Neoliberal Times and Places. London: Routledge.
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