Rerouting: Discipline, Assessment and Performativity in Contemporary Swedish Educational Discourse

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Larsson, Joakim ; Löfdahl, Annica ; Pérez Prieto, Hector (2010)
  • Publisher: Education Inquiry
  • Journal: Education Inquiry (issn: 2000-4508, eissn: 2000-4508)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/edui.v1i3.21941
  • Subject: discipline, assessment, governmentality, PISA

As Sweden drew nearer to the 2006 national election, two themes emerged in the educational debate: a concern for order and discipline in schools, and the ambition to raise educational levels of achievement. The objective of this article is to locate these two themes within a broader framework of understanding by: 1) discussing examples of how the reinforcement of disciplinary power in schools was introduced, justified and deployed by right-wing constellations during this time; and 2) to relate these policy changes to both a Foucauldian theory of power and to current discussions on performativity, assessment and governmentality. Considered as attempts to locate students, teachers and schools within networks of performativity, thereby strengthening the image of Sweden as a “performing knowledge nation”, we argue that these policy changes have a much closer relationship with the art of “perception management” than with any genuine interest in education for human proficiency.Keywords: discipline, assessment, governmentality, PISA(Published: 1 September 2010)Citation: Education Inquiry Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2010, pp.177–195
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