23 SES 02 B, Policies and Practices of Inclusion in Global Setting 2
The increasing use of ‘the private’ as a mean of delivery of public service, including several education reforms, such as decentralization, free school choice and a liberal tax-funded voucher system have paved the way for a rapid increase of upper secondary schools in Sweden. There is a strong competition between these schools. Today, half of all schools at the post 16-level are run by municipalities, while the rest is run by private owners, mainly organized as large school concerns. About 25% of all upper secondary students study at an independent school (Swedish National Agency for Education, 2012). As Bernstein stated already in 1996, the market relevance has become the key-orientating criterion for the selection of discourses. The ‘capitalisation’, which is making public schools into commodity producing enterprises (Rikowski, 2003) is now a fact. Furthermore the education market is no longer simply a matter of choice and competition, according to Ball (2004) it is a sophisticated system of goods, services, experiences and routes. In parallel with an increasing competition there is still political consensus in Sweden regarding the education’s mission of being socially compensatory and inclusive. However recent statistics and research highlight alarming results of increased segregation between municipalities, schools and between students (Swedish National Agency for Education, 2012; Östh, Andersson and Malmberg, 2012).
Based on students’ school choice and commuting patterns, the Swedish National Agency of Education (2011) has defined 94 local school markets of varying character in Sweden.The aim of the paper is to explore and describe four such local school markets in four different regions. The focus is on how the schools in the selected regions, public as well as independent, promote themselves and how they interpret and handle the intersection between inclusion and competition. How do they market their creation of meaning and context? How are different schools’ identities formed through marketing materials? How is teaching and learning described? How do municipal officials and school leaders reason and act to reconcile demands for competition and social inclusion and equality? To whom are the various schools addressing their advertising?
Basil Bernstein’s (2000) theory about pedagogical identities, which consists of four positions: the retrospective; the prospective, the marketing and the therapeutic, serves as a tool to study these issues. Bernstein describes pedagogical identities as the creation of meaning and context, a sense of belonging or not belonging in time and space (Bernstein & Solomon, 1999, p. 271), in other words about how the actor would like to be perceived. The study is part of a large ongoing research project; Inclusive and competitive?Working in the intersection between social inclusion and marketization in upper secondary school, funded by the Swedish Research Council (2012-2015).
Ball, S (2004) Education For Sale! The Commodification of Everything? Institute of Education, University of London. Bernstein, B (1996) Pedagogy Symbolic Control and Identity. London: Taylor and Francis. Bernstein, Basil (2000). Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity: theory, research, critique. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Bernstein, B & Solomon, J (1999). ´Pedagogy, Identity and the Construction of a Theory of Symbolic Control´: Basil Bernstein questioned by Joseph Salomon. British Journal of Sociology of Education 20(2), 265-279. Burgess, R. (1984). In the field. An introduction to field research. London: Allen & Urwin. Clifford, J. (1990). Notes on (Filed)notes. In R. Sanjek (ed.) Fieldnotes. The Making of Anthropology. London: Cornell University Press. Rikowski, G. (2003). The Buisness Takeover of Schools. Mediaactive: Ideas Knowledge Culture, no.1, pp91-107. The Swedish national Agency for Education (2012). Likvärdig utbildning i svensk grundskola? En kvantitativ analys av likvärdighet över tid. Rapport 374. Stockholm: Fritzes Östh, John, Andersson, Eva and Malmberg, Bo (2012). School Choice and Increasing Performance Difference: A Counterfactual Approach. Urban Studies Journal pp1-19.
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