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Power effects between the conception of the legal person and the material consequences from resolving school segregation?

Conference contribution
Authors David Jivegård
Published in International Perspectives on Gender and Justice: Theory and Practice, Conference 28 to 30 October 2019 in Sarajevo
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Law
Language en
Subject categories Jurisprudence, Sociology of Law


When the semester began for the pupils in the schools of the medium-sized Swedish city of Örebro late summer 2018, one thing was different. The lower secondary school in the ethnically diverse and socio-economically exposed suburb Vivalla, which for years had struggled with poor school results, had been shut down by the municipality. The objectives with the shut-down were said to be to contribute in giving all pupils in the municipality the same opportunities to reach the goals of schooling and to increase the integration in the schools. Solutions to close schools are both restraining for families that lose their neighborhood school and they are limiting and disrupting for pupils that have to take buses to other parts of the city. In addition, in the Swedish school system boys tend to underachieve in relation to girls, whereas mothers tend to take more responsibility over their children’s schooling than fathers. Thus, solutions to close certain schools might have gender effects that are distributed differently over generations. Moreover, a situation of structural underachievement from boys may result in increases of domestic violence, criminality, etc. Notwithstanding these effects, the closing of non-well-functioning schools are seen as the best alternative to solve a problem. I ask why this is so: how come the problem gets defined the way it does, and why are we seemingly unable to imagine other ways to handle these problems? If it is true that the individual, as Marx once put it, has stepped “to the side of the production process instead of being its chief actor”, a space opens for the social. Thus far in my research on the closing of the Vivalla school I have identified an assemblage of the ‘social’ – or, to use Deleuze and Guattari’s terminology, a collective assemblage of enunciation – that produce the way in which we understand the problems at the school. This collective assemblage of enunciation involves certain enunciations about interest, the individual, collective interest, society, population and the state. I claim that the singular point that hereby becomes visible, and in whose vicinity the school assemblage stand, coincide with the singular point in whose vicinity an assemblage of the legal person or the legal subject (rechtssubject) stand; hence, ‘fusing’ a collective assemblage of enunciation of the school with a collective assemblage of enunciation of the legal person. I presented some of the findings from this fuse and drew some conclusions on what effects it might have on the way power works to constitute – what I at the moment call – an alienation of dispossession from relations.

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