03 SES 13 A, Constructing Purposes and Legitimizing Social and Emotional Learning in Youth Education. Part 1
The Swedish school system in recent years has seen a new subject, “Life Competence” (Livskunskap), emerging as an umbrella term for behavioral management and social competence training in Sweden. As the name indicates, the topic is multivalent and fluid. It is about nothing less than “life,” covering everything from health and sex education to emotional management and general social skills. The topic is strongly related to a dominant discourse of values and democratic citizenship put to play in Swedish society, the so called “value foundation” (värdegrunden), which is a conglomerate of moral guidelines for what is desirable. In this study Life Competence is analyzed not primarily as a political and educational concern or specific programs of education but rather as a technology of government. What impulses, ambitions, and aspirations of government pervade Life Competence? We direct our attention to two specific Life Competence programs: Project Charlie (which also contains Peaceful Partners) and Lion Quest–Together. The programs are originally from a North American context but have been taken over and used in a rather different context in Sweden, this switch of national contexts in itself is also of interest for this study.
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