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How the Media in the Post World War Years was Giving Intelligibility to the Co‐Production of the Educational ‘Failure’/‘Success'. At the symposium How Nature is Given Names: The International Emergence of Educational Sciences in The Post World War Two Years. (Chair: Thomas S. Popkewitz (University of Wisconsin‐Madison) Discussants: Lynn Fendler (Michigan State University), Noah W. Sobe (Loyola University) Chicago)

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Gun-Britt Wärvik
Caroline Runesdotter
Daniel Pettersson
Publicerad i ISCHE, August 2018 in Berlin
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik
Språk en
Länkar conferences.ische.org/ocs-2.3.6/ind...
Ämnesord History of education Large scale assessment media
Ämneskategorier Pedagogik


This paper highlights how the media in connection to post WWII social and education science developments, co‐produced (Jasanoff, 2006) a specific ‘seeing’ (cf. Rose, 1999) and ‘language’ 363 on human ‘nature’ and education. To a large extent this was co‐produced by and through a specific reasoning (Hacking, 1992) on educational comparisons which later came to be instantiated in international large‐scale assessments. We consider these early comparativistic descriptions as being ‘thin’ (cf. Porter, 1995) to its character, in comparisons to ‘thick’ descriptions discussed by Geertz (1973/1993). Consequently, we elaborate on how media functioned as a ‘space’ for the elaboration on a specific ‘seeing’ and ‘language’ ‐ making intelligible interchange possible between Science and Society. In our analyses we illuminate how this ‘seeing’ and ‘language’ evolved into “the backstage” for international large‐scale assessments and the scientific and societal slide from ‘thick’ to ‘thin’ descriptions of the human ‘nature’. Our case is the Swedish media debate post‐WWII in which the specific reasoning on international comparisons was co‐produced, especially through numbers, graphs, tables etc. In this we prioritize to highlight how ‘thin’ descriptions reported on in the media is given different values in the process of co‐production that can be elaborated on as a ‘struggle’ over what to be defined as the normal and the pathological (cf. Canguilhem, 1991) when it comes to the human ‘nature’ or in terms of defining what to consider as educational ‘failure’ or ‘success’. We illuminate this ‘struggle’ on educational content from out the societal‐ as well as the human ‘nature’ and what is reported on as the ‘common sense’ (cf. Laclau & Mouffe, 1985/2014) of education. The study analyses the media discourses and its actors, and gives examples on co‐produced media discussions, most important for understanding some of the prerequisites of the development of the Swedish Welfare state education. Reference Canguilhem, G. (1991) The Normal and the Pathological. Zone Books: New York. Geertz, C. (1973/1993) The Interpretation of Cultures. Fontana Press: London. Hacking, I. (1992) “Style” for historians and philosophers. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 23 (1) p. 1‐20. Jasanoff, S. (2006) States of Knowledge: The co‐production of science and social order. Routledge: London & New York. Laclau, E. & Mouffe, C. (1985/2014) Hegemony and Socialist Strategy Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. Verso: London & New York. Porter, T. M. (1995) Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life. Princeton University Press: Princeton, New Jersey. Rose, N. (1999) Powers of freedom: Reframing political thought. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

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