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Gender, ethnicity and citizenship in pedagogical texts and education policy – Some examples from Turkey and Sweden

Conference contribution
Authors Marie Carlson
Published in NERA 42nd Congress, Education for Sustainable Development. Lillehammer, March 5-7, 2014.
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Language en
Keywords gender, ethnicity, citizenship, education policies, textbook analysis
Subject categories International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Educational Sciences, Political Science, Sociology


What it means to be a citizen related to gender and ethnicity, inside and outside school differs between countries and socio-cultural contexts. This is very much evident in an on-going research project Future citizens in pedagogical texts and education policies – Examples from Lebanon, Sweden and Turkey. Simultaneous, and often contradictory, processes are of great importance of how the “right” future citizen is formed in mandatory schooling. This paper will focus on narratives about gender and ethnicity, which relates to two broader sets of issues in the project: • How are the ’citizen’ and the citizen’s identity constructed in relation to place, nation, language, religion, ethnicity and gender in policy documents for schools and pedagogical texts? • How is the relationship between national and global perspectives treated in relation to the ’citizen’? Theoretically/methodologically the project is linked to critical discourse analysis, which provides tools for studying how the ‘citizen’ and different subject positions are constructed in both text and practice. Empirical data consist of educational documents and curricula for subjects like history, civic and religious education in the three national settings. Selected textbook in the later years in the mandatory school system have been analyzed. Also interviews with politicians, educational bureaucrats, NGO activists as well as teachers and authors of textbooks have been conducted. In Turkey with recurrent turbulence on democratic issues in the contemporary society there are persistent discussions about democracy courses/citizenship education in school. Critics wonder if it is possible with such courses in a “difference-blind polity”. An analysis of the “gender regime” in Turkish textbooks shows that a more subtle analysis of the hidden discourses is necessary. Contradictions and contradictory messages are prevalent. In the Swedish case the country is – on the discursive level – described to be highly culturally diverse and mobile. Any shared conceptions of “a good citizen” in a heterogeneous nation like Sweden hardly exist. However in various empirical studies one still find dominant discourses on “Swedishness”. Likewise there is a narrative about Sweden as the world’s most gender equal country – this will be discussed and problematized in the paper. Key words: gender, ethnicity, citizenship, education policies, textbook analysis

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