07 SES 10 JS, Critical Reflections on Social Justice and Equality in Education, Part I: Critical Ethnography in Nordic Context- with European Refelctions
Joint Session with NW 19
Girls as a group tend to be more successful in achieving high grades than boys in contemporary Swedish school, which is now one of the most deregulated education systems in the world. The aim of this chapter is to explore discourses of gender and study achievements in secondary school, and how the importance of marks and performance is communicated in various teaching settings and amongst pupils. The chapter has an ethnographic approach and involves observations and interviews in two classes in grade 9 (pupils 15-16 years old) at two different schools in Sweden. The fieldwork is elaborated as a compact form of ethnography (Jeffrey & Troman 2004). The result shows that the pupils’ everyday life in school is highly regulated by their documented performances, tests, and other measurable criteria or what we call, the ‘governance by marks’. A common opinion among the pupils is that failures and successes is a matter of a free choice. However, girls as a group seems to manage the neoliberal challenge in a more efficient way regarded handling individual responsibility. Also, they more easily than boys ‘crack the code’ and use more appropriate and fortunate strategies to balance studying and social positioning.
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