28 SES 04, The Post-Comprehensive School and the Transformation of the Welfare State
Parallel Paper Session
Historically, the education system in the Nordic countries has been based on principles of equity, local anchoring and a common education system for all. Nowadays, we see a denationalisation (Ball 2011), where nation-states are losing the ability to decide the future of their own educational systems to transnational agencies. A central actor in such regard is the OECD pushing forward a neoliberal agenda. Central elements in policies addressed from this organization are a combination of accountability, autonomy, choice and privatization.
The neoliberal agenda is in itself characterised by contradiction (cf. Apple 2006) and consequences of the policies may be hard to foresee. Basil Bernstein (2000) describes through his “Pedagogic Device” the relation between macro and micro, and how discourses on one level are recontextualised and may take various forms at another level. When a discourse moves from one arena to another, ideology comes into play. Thereby one could expect the same policies to take different forms and have different consequences.
While the combination of elements described as the neoliberal agenda has weak tradition and is present to a varying degree in educational policies in the Nordic countries, other countries, such as the USA and England has a longer history and a lot of research is carried out on aspects and effects of neoliberalism in education.
Based on a review of international research, I will in this context like to discuss possible consequences neoliberalism may have for the Nordic model of education.
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