New book on diversifying education in Europe

By on 17.02.2017 in Publications

Gunillas bokThe title of this new book “The State, Schooling and Identity: Diversifying
Education in Europe” cuts into the complexities of current educational
endeavors.  Several JustEd members participate in this book which offers insights into the relationship between nation-state and education by problematizing and analyzing the assumed straightforwardness of the role of education and schooling.

The editors Kari Kantasalmi and Gunilla Holm, Director of JustEd, have not imposed any particular theoretical frame for the contributors, but asked for reflections from settings they thought would be of interest to those following the global education discourse with regard to cultural identities and social inequalities.

Placing the issue in very contemporary contested nation-state structures like Scotland, Catalonia, Ukraine and Belgium.  These conflict situations and contested power relations are in a way some of Europe’s internal North-South struggles. In addition, the particular Nordic North-South example of the Saami with their status as indigenous people recognized in international law is viewed in terms of their educational struggle for better consideration of their cultural features in Saami land crossing the Nordic states.

The book focuses on the Nordic countries, often viewed as globally exemplary in their educational arrangements, but casts deeper insight into Nordic education and points to problematic schooling issues in Northern Europe. This volume presents somewhat unexpected views on European educational arrangements with regard to the European growing diversity.

Several JustEd members have written chapters in the book:

  • Lauri Ojalehto, Mira Kalalahti, Janne Varjo, and Sonja Kosunen: “Differentiation and Diversification in Compulsory Education: A Conceptual Analysis.” Lauri, Mira, Janne and Sonja
    delve into the meanings and challenges of the concepts of differentiation and diversification as they play out in research on comprehensive schooling. What does school differentiation mean from the perspective of, for example, diverse student populations? What are some of the tools available for understanding the processes through which differentiation develops in our schools? The authors also connect the two main concepts discussed to related concepts such as stratification.
  • Anna-Kaisa Berisha, Risto Rinne, Tero Järvinen,
    and Heikki Kinnari: “Cultural Capital, Equality and Diversifying Education.” The authors discuss how equality in education has been reconceptualized over time in Finland and how the mechanisms of educational selection have actually maintained inequality at all levels of schooling in a situation of diversifying education. They focus on
    the importance of institutionalized cultural capital in the social reproduction and social inheritance of education.
  • Elisabet Öhrn, Lisa Asp-Onsjö, and Ann-Sofie Holm: “Discourses on Gender and Achievement in Lower Secondary Education”. The authors examine gender differences in school achievement in Sweden and the communication processes contributing to the diff erences. The research is based on a study of
    nine schools in both rural and urban contexts. The study confirms previous studies showing that valued masculinities are related to non-school work, but this study also shows that high achieving boys can obtain a high status among peers and teachers. For both boys and girls, being high achieving due to being talented is more appreciated and recognized than being high achieving due to hard work.
  • Dennis Beach: “Justice in Education in the Nordic Countries:
    Perspectives, Challenges and Possibilities.” Dennis discusses how the core values of equal opportunities and social justice form the foundation of the educational systems in the Nordic countries. He questions whether school systems in the Nordic countries are as successful in working for a socially just education as they are claimed to be. He does this both at a theoretical level using Nancy Fraser’s concept of recognition as well as some neo-Marxian concepts with
    regard to educational practices and outcomes.
  • Ina Juva and Gunilla Holm: “Not All Students Are Equally Equal: Normality as Finnishness.” Ina and Gunilla go in-depth with how equality is played out indaily life in two lower secondary schools in Finland. They explore the processes of exclusion and marginalization migrant students encounter in school despite the claims of school being equal for all. Many teachers have diff erent
    expectations of migrant students and make distinctions between normal Finnish students and “less normal” or too different migrant students because the migrant students are not considered Finnish enough.

More information about the book.



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About the Author

About the Author: Journalist currently working as Communications Specialist at the Nordic Centre of Excellence "Justice through Education in the Nordic countries" and in NordForsk's programme "Education for Tomorrow". .


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