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The Double Face of Differentiation


Education both equalises and differentiates. Researchers from the Department of Education and Special Education analyse the contradictory functions of education in the anthology titled ‘Differentieringens janusansikte’ (the Janus face of differentiation).

The common theme of the contributions is the changing educational
system and what the change has meant to different actors and the different parts of the system.

Clear tension

‘A characteristic feature of the texts is the clear tension between how things are and how they ought to be, a tension found both in the studied phenomena and in the scientific work,’ says Professor Inga Wernersson, who edited the anthology together with Senior Lecturer Ingemar Gerrbo.

‘Educational research can rarely or never be freed from a normative framing, and shouldn’t. Education as a phenomenon and research object is a matter of intentional and goal-oriented influence and it would be strange if such a basic social phenomenon would be free of assumptions about what’s desired or best,’ she says.

Relevant view

In the summer of 2010, the University of Gothenburg’s large education department was divided into four new departments, each focusing on a different aspect of education and the study thereof. Soon thereafter, the reader/professor collegium at the Department of Education and Special Education developed a project plan for an anthology with an aim to present a comprehensive relevant view of the new department for the continued scientific activities, the anthology that has now been published.

Eight research groups at the Department of Education and Special Education have contributed to the anthology.