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University of Gothenburg


Critical perspectives on education in the Nordic countries.

CRITPEN is a Nordic research network with a critical knowledge interest that targets issues of social justice in education. It consists of a diverse group of scholars with some overarching characteristics;

- a focus on issues of social justice in education
- a strong tradition of sociology of education, cultural studies and ethnography
- an interest in intersecting power relations such as class, gender, racialisation, sexuality or disability
- an interest in consequences of societal changes (political climate, economy, global crises, etc.) on education politics, policies and practices.

The core aim of the network is to create new collaborations and jointly develop novel research ideas and innovative methodology in order to better understand the current development of educational phenomena in the Nordic countries important in a social justice context.

The Nordic countries provide an important context for a social justice educational research field with relevance beyond the Nordic countries themselves. As countries with a strong tradition as welfare states, they share some key similarities, and face today many problems of a similar kind, but there are also marked differences between the countries (e.g. with regards to migration, marketization and organization of upper secondary education). This makes the Nordic countries an interesting body for comparative work; they present a case which enables a deeper understanding of the nature of the challenges to social justice in education and how they can be tackled.

CRITPEN Committee

Anna-Maija Niemi, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Tel: +358503177862,

Sirpa Lappalainen, Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, University of Eastern Finland,

Mattias Nylund, (Convenor) Associate Professor, Department of education and special education, Gothenburg University,

Per-Åke Rosvall, Associate Professor, Department of applied educational science, Umeå university