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Christina Osbeck

Head of department

Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional
Studies
Visiting address
Läroverksgatan 15
41120 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 300
40530 Göteborg

PROFESSOR

Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional
Studies
Visiting address
Läroverksgatan 15
41120 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 300
40530 Göteborg

About Christina Osbeck

  • Head of Department at the Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies (IDPP)
  • Senior lecturer in subject matter education, specialising in social studies
  • Docent in religious studies, Karlstad University (2011 - )

Research interests My research is primarily focused on two areas: religious education and values education, which may both be said to include issues relating to ethics education. Ethics education in particular has recently become a focus in my research and constitutes a theme that recurs in many different ways in our research environment. We work with ethics education as a separate field within religious education, as a common theme in social studies education, in a broader values-education context and as an aspect of the department’s research in ESD (Education for Sustainable Development).

Since January 2015, I have been leader of a project funded by the Swedish Research Council: “What May be Learnt in Ethics? Varieties of Conceptions of Ethical Competence to be Taught in Compulsory School” (2015-2017), where I am working with Olof Franck, Annika Lilja, Johan Tykesson and Karin Sporre. The aim of the study is to identify and elucidate various conceptions of ethical competence and to analyse them critically in relation to each other and in relation to ethical theory as being potential content in the teaching of ethics in compulsory school. More information about the project can be found on the website for the project.

My interest in issues in the point of intersection between religious education and values education was already apparent in my doctoral thesis (2006), which focuses on life understandings in students in year 8 and shows how victimisation is used as a tool to maintain “correct perspectives” about, for example, how life works and what gives it value and meaning. In this way, a dominant life understanding is collectively re/constructed, where value and meaning are tied to individual competitiveness, and adaptation is understood as a way to achieve this goal. The result raises questions about the school’s “hidden” fundamental values, which are discussed in the study from a religious education perspective, where the results of the focus interviews are placed in relation to values perspectives in the subject’s traditional material. In “Life understanding of victimisation”, the perspectives that are developed are understood as re/constructed and lived in the discursive practices in which the individual takes part (see, for example, Michel Foucault, Bronwyn Davies). These theoretical perspectives, where knowledge is related to communication in specific practices, and language takes a central position, have been used in several later projects and have been developed in relation to sociocultural perspectives on learning. One of the larger research projects that I have worked with, and still report findings from, is “Mastering the language of being in the world”. Together with colleagues at the Centre for the Didactics of Social Science Subjects at Karlstad University, I worked with teaching in social studies in middle school, in my case teaching of religious education. Learning in the area of social science subjects is seen here as gradually developing a richer and more nuanced language about the world around us. The subject of religious education contributes especially to the language of Life, of existence, of our “being in the world”. The teaching and learning of three year-six classes were followed and documented during a school year.

In my work on religious education, I have also been involved with several international comparative projects and at present am working on a project where we analyse the conditions for knowledge production in religious education in the Nordic countries and the possible consequences of these. A complete list of the research projects with which I have worked may be found in my CV below.

Teaching Interests In my work with undergraduate education, I focus above all on religious education for student teachers of the school subject religious education but also on values education in the Bachelor’s programme in education. In postgraduate education, I am responsible for courses in subject matter education and for supervising PhD candidates.