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The school as contested space

Within this research environment, we investigate the dynamics and ramifications of the school vis-à-vis social narratives, institutions, identities and practices across time and space

Figure: School as contested space.

The school constitutes a fascinating interface of various, often conflicting social, political and economic visions and realities. It is a contested space that shapes communication, habits, norms, values, traits etc., which in turn have an impact on individual and societal development, both in-/outside school in adolescence and educational settings during adulthood.

Typically, the school has been conceived as a site where socialization and learning are taking place. This also involves questions of how schooling is embedded in, or even reinforcing/advancing, existing structures of hegemony and power, especially when schooling is used to counteract and transform local practices. At the same time, the school represents a site where professional labor, identities and ethics are being negotiated and (re-)performed. Moreover, while the school, historically, has long been interacting with various other social institutions and norms and their accompanying institutional rationales (in terms of e.g. gender, family, class, ethnicity, religion etc.), it has over the recent decades gone through particular re-definitions by being conceptualized as part of an educational (quasi-)market, both in Sweden and beyond.

Our researchers therefore also investigate the repercussions of educational marketization, commercialization and commodification in various contexts. Finally, the school constitutes a space where various policies, through processes of local negotiation and domestication, become implemented (or ignored/resisted) and ideologies and narratives (about what constitutes good, useful, efficient etc. education) become grounded. It is one of our aims to scrutinize the various dimensions of this enacted educational governance as well as explore in-depth the interests and motivations behind these governance models.


Related research projects

  • Conditions for quality-driven teacher work (Carola Aili) (Financed by AFA Insurance)
  • Cash Cow, Civil Space or Cooptation: Private Schools in Urban China (Barbara Schulte) (Financed by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond)
  • ICT and Education, in Networked Authoritarianism: China in the Digital Age (Barbara Schulte) (Financed by the National Research Council)
  • Carriers of Knowledge Society. A Study of the Historical Emergence and Contemporary Importance of the Swedish Professions (Margareta Nilsson-Lindström) (Financed by the National Research Council)
  • Praktiknära skolforskning (Mina O'Dowd) (Financed by the National Research Council and UVK)
  • Delutvärdering av försöksverksamhet med 105 timmar utökad undervisning i svenska som andra språk för nyanlända elever i grundskolans årskurs 6-9 (Glen Helmstad) (Financed by Swedish National Agency for Education)
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Department of Sociology
Lund University
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Telephone: Student Office +46 46-222 88 44, Lund University Switchboard +46 46-222 00 00

Faculty of Social Sciences