Sverker Lindblad


Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik
Västra Hamngatan 25
41117 Göteborg
A3 431
Box 300
40530 Göteborg

Om Sverker Lindblad

Sverker Lindblads hemsida (på engelska)

Forskningsintressen De frågor jag framför allt arbetar med rör formandet av pedagogiska system och processer och hur detta hänger samman med olika tendenser i samhället. Av särskilt intresse är politiska aspekter av pedagogiska fenomen. Hur ska vi förstå utveckling och erkännande av professionell expertis? Vad formar skeendet i klassrumsinteraktion och vad innebär det för social och kulturell reproduktion? För att söka svar på dessa frågor arbetar jag med forskning om hur undervisning och utbildning styrs och vad detta innebär för formandet av dagens människor och institutioner. Här arbetar jag med forskning om läroplansteori och komparativ pedagogik. Jag utnyttjar begrepp som styrningsmentalitet och självteknologier. Till bilden hör försök att bidra till internationellt samarbete inom utbildningsvetenskaplig forskning i forskarorganisationer och genom redaktionsarbete.

Undervisningsintressen Jag undervisar och handleder gärna om pedagogikens historia och utveckling och om internationell och jämförande pedagogik. Jag betonar betydelsen av relationer mellan utbildning och samhälle och frågor om social och kulturell reproduktion. Motsvarande gäller också för undervisning om läroplansteori och pedagogiska processer.

Nyckelord skolreformer, utbildningspolitik, läroplansteori, social integrering och exkludering, kulturell reproduktion, profession, professionell expertis, komparativ pedagogik

Forskningsmiljöer och projekt Pedagogik och Politik, POP Gothenburg Centre for Globalization and Development

Pågående projekt med anslag från Vetenskapsrådet:

International Comparisons and the Re-modelling of Welfare State Education 1. Purpose and aims: Education is of vital societal importance according to transnational actors such as the OECD and the EU, e.g. in terms of international competition in a knowledge economy or in lifelong learning and economic and cultural development (e.g. OECD 2001; European Commission, 2007, see also Livingstone & Guile, 2012 as well as Husén and Kogan, 1984/2014). However, this emphasis on education is often combined with a critique of the actual status of education according to international standards, for instance to deteriorating performances of the Swedish education (OECD, 2015) leading to heavily stressed demands on improvement or re-modelling of education systems among policy-makers and different organizations. Sweden is not an exceptional case here. Similar ways of identifying and dealing with education problematics are also occurring in other national contexts (see e.g. Hopmann, 2008;). Given the status of international comparisons and the impact of transnational expertise in current education discourses we identify what we name a comparativistic paradigm in education. Here, comparisons are less about how to know about education in different contexts and more about doing hierarchies of performances, where comparing school systems and their performances is serving as base and are focusing on positions in ranking and performance trajectories over time (such as “how the world class systems came out on top”) This comparativistic paradigm with the power of new algorithms for classifying educational systems at the intersection of international actors and national policy and science, is repeatedly expressed in education policy debates (to become “one of the ten best performing education systems”), in mass-media and in conversations with transnational education expertise on how to improve education in these respects. The emergence of this approach to education has been noted in research (Carvalho, 2016; Grek, 2016), mostly with a focus on relations between different actors at work in different layers and in transnational governance (Ozga, 2012; Djelic & Sahlin-Andersson, 2006). However, there is a vital need to analyze and to critically examine educational comparativism - which arguments are put forwards on what premises and with what implications for the concept of education and for educational betterment and reformation? Based on such notions, the purpose of the current study is describe and analyze this comparativism in education in order to critically examine and clarify what claims and educational reasoning that are put forwards as well as implications for educational design and action. In order to realize this purpose we search for answers to the following set of questions: • What argumentative positions are put forwards in the comparativistic education paradigm and what are the implications for education discourses? What are the principles for ordering, describing and classifying the problems and solutions to educational systems? • - Which actors are present and what interests in education are displayed at the education agora? What networks from among national and international research, policy, and professions intersect at the agora? What impact has research doing international comparisons of education in this field of knowledge and actors? • What are the re-modelling implications for educational expectations, conceptualization, design and change in, for example, policy, curriculum design, teacher education and research? • What implications does the comparativistic paradigm have for educational knowledge and the making of educational expertise? How does for instance teacher education deal with the comparativistic paradigm? How do research training deal with comparative education? In order to answer these questions we will focus on the trajectories of Swedish welfare state education – how the comparativistic education paradigm has developed in policy, in research, in curriculum design and in the formulation and realization of comparativistic educational knowledge. When doing so we have the opportunity to analyze the intersection between science and society in an important field of education. In accordance with Nowotny et al. (2002) we can name this metaphorically as an education agora. To analyze this agora is the final section of our purpose. Here we ask: • How is the intersection between science and society formed and reformed in the making and development of a comparativistic paradigm in education? 2. Survey of the field: Given the research interest presented by the purpose and research questions we are covering a set or research fields, though framed in a specific way by the concept of comparativism developed in education. A point of departure is taken by the concept of paradigm derived from Kuhn (1970) and Popkewitz (1984) signifying research paradigms and the role of the intellectual. Our interest in the intersection between science and society made it productive to re-contextualize the paradigm concept to define specific configurations of education matters (see e.g. Spring, 2012) and to underline the importance of intellectual and scientific qualities and practices in the formulation and realization of educational ideas and programs. Given this combination we make a short thematic survey of relevant research over policy discourse analyses, international comparative education research, and their implications in education programs and curriculum theorizing. We will here also put forwards relevant research carried out by our research team under these themes and make short conclusions related to available research and needed contributions. Changing welfare state education discourses and education governing: Welfare state education in transition has been subject to a large set of research (see e.g. Ball, 1997; Taylor, Rizvi, Lingard, & Henry, 1997; Zajda, 2005), also in Swedish contexts (Englund, 1986; Lindensjö & Lundgren, 2000; Lundahl, 2005) where there are large policy changes since the 1980s, e.g. in terms of decentralization, marketization, the introduction of a voucher system. In previous studies members of the team analyzed changing discourses on different levels and for different actors (Lindblad, Lundahl, Lindgren & Zackari, 2002). Similar tendencies were present in Nordic Welfare State education (Johannesson, Lindblad, Simola, 2002) and over European contexts (Lindblad, Ozga & Zambeta, 2002) though with different policy trajectories (Goodson & Lindblad, 2011) and with an increasing importance in terms of globalization (Popkewitz & Rizvi, 2010). Research in this field has predominantly been carried out by means of document analyses (Lindblad & Popkewitz, 2000) and interviews with policy actors (Lindblad & Popkewitz, 2001) and professionals (Houtsonen & Wärvik, 2009), but also by means of Gallup studies (Houtsonen et al, 2010; Samuelsson & Lindblad, 2015). We plan here to use the comparative opportunities in the design of policy discourse analyses as utilized in Popkewitz & Lindblad (2000) and the policy interviews as used by Lindblad & Popkewitz (2001). Comparative education research: The interests as well as approaches to comparative education research have shifted over time, e.g. in terms of case studies and variable studies (Novoa & Yariv-Mashal, 2003) related to conceptions of the comparability of education in different contexts and the problem of theorizing education out of context (Archer, 2013). Comparative education research has taken many positions (see e.g. Schriewer, 2009) and ways of analyze education internationally and comparatively (e.g. Cowen & Kazamias, 2009). Here, several important studies point to the huge problems to do education comparisons e.g. over different contexts and cultures and on the different impact of educational comparisons (e.g. Martens & Niemann, 2013). During the last decades there has been an increasing interest in as well as numbers of comparative studies by means of large scale assessments, as carried out firstly by the IEA, secondly by the OECD, and thirdly by the European Commission (Pettersson, 2008; Lindblad, Pettersson & Popkewitz, 2015). As a response to this interest a huge number of studies have been published (more than 10 000 during the last decade), out of which a large number has been dealing with promoting international comparisons as a matter of providing knowledge for policy or as analyses and criticisms of current transnational governance by means of the tools transnational organizations and multi-national corporations provide (Carvalho, 2016; Grek, 2016; Sellar & Lingard, 2013). In sum there is a large amount of publications on international comparisons of school performances, but out of these a very small share (less than one percent of all identified publications) is actually doing international comparisons based on primary data and presented in peer reviewed journals (Lindblad, Pettersson & Popkewitz, 2015). Lindblad, Pettersson and Popkewitz (2015) developed two complementing approaches to analyze arguments provided in large scale assessments of educational performances. Firstly, in terms of as a kind of scientific reasoning (Crombie, 1988; Hacking, 1992) with specific constraints considering what is considered as valid statements. Secondly, the constructions of arguments (based on von Wright, 1983) in comparative studies are mostly based on taxonomic distinctions of populations and definitions of e.g. performance gaps between taxonomic groups. Actually, rather a small share was doing comparisons in terms of efficiency and ranking. This finding was conceived of as distinctly different from the uses of international large scale assessments in policy discourses where matters of efficiency and ranking dominated the scene. Our proposed study will benefit from our previous extensive systematic research review and the development of filtration processes carried out there. It will take a stance in how to analyze statistical reasoning and arguments in large scale assessments as inputs into educational discourses. The comparativistic paradigm in education: In practice a number of publications are presenting issues on design and re-modelling measures in education matter based on international comparisons based on large-scale assessments. Exampled are here the reports from the OECD on PISA lessons for different countries (e.g. such as the different reports on Sweden) and the materials for the International Summits for the teaching profession (see also e.g. Schleicher, 2009). Here, we also note e.g. the McKinsey reports on how to come on top as an education system (Barber & Mourshed, 2007) and notions about the future with the much debated Pearson take-over of the PISA test. However, there is little of critical examination of these materials, curriculum rationales and practices beside notions on the narrowing of educational aims (e.g. Labaree, 2012), teacher responses to the PISA recommendations (Fensham, 2009) and of the lack of understanding of context (Coffield, 2012). Here, we also note the criticism of technological and instrumental rationalities (e.g. Biesta, 2009) The current team have presented analyses of the McKinsey reports in Lindblad, Pettersson & Popkewitz (2015) which is further developed by Popkewitz (2016) where the basic principles and concepts are examined in terms of curriculum theorizing. Given this state of the art, a significant contribution would be to analyze how the comparativistic paradigm is translated and contextualized into education designs and programs. On an education agora: There are a number of studies on e.g. transnational governance and international expertise in the reception and use of international comparisons in different education discourses. However, there are few studies (see, e.g Brown, 2012) devoted to the science-society interplay in education matters - who are getting access, what is on the agenda and what principles and preferences are at work? The notion of paradigm in our research is opening for analyzing the role of intellectuals in educational matters (Popkewitz, 1984) and in the public (Lindblad, Nilsson & Lindblad, 2015; 2016). Thus we put that focus as part of our studies of the developments and translations of the comparativistic paradigm in education. This short review of research of relevance for our purpose and research questions, shows the significance of analyzing the developments of educational discourse and international comparisons of education and how these trajectories are intersecting over time. The review also points to the importance of precise analyses of arguments in this interplay and the need of understanding context and knowledge practices at work. 3. Project description: We are planning the research to be carried out over four years, during 2017-2020. That is partly due to the amount of research to be done, and partly due to collection of data in cooperation with the SOM-institute surveys in relation to the parliament election 2018 (data available March 2019) and the first collection of PISA data by the Pearson Cooperation. The research is based on a mixed method approach and organized as a combination of autonomous work-packages (carried out in cooperation by the research team but with distinct responsibilities) and deliverables which will be independent knowledge contributions and classified publications to be integrated in the research process. The project is organized in five work-packages with named coordinators for each work-package (WP). In sum we have estimated resources for research to 72 person-months (PM) distributed over the five WPs and four researchers. We apply for resources for Pettersson and Wärvik in terms of 50 percent over four years, each getting 24 PM, and 25 percent each for Lindblad and Popkewitz, over four years, each getting 12 PM. To this are added demands for travelling and meetings, including work and seminars with the international advisory board, as well as 100 000SEK for participating with a few questions in an ongoing Gallup survey performed by the SOM-institute at Gothenburg University. The ambition is to design the WPs in a way that each of them produce independent intellectual contributions and also are contributing to the over-embracing research purpose. WP 1 is researching the development of international comparisons in education over controversies, milestones and publication and communication patterns. It is based on historical (document analyses and interviews with important actors) and bibliometrical analyses. Estimated resources (ER): 22 PM. WP 2 is researching developments in education policy and profession discourses and decisions. Analyses are focusing on the period 1990-2017 and are based on parliamentary documents and interviews with top policy-makers and civil servants plus teacher education leaders. ER: 20 PM. WP 3 is analyzing the development of a comparativistic education program over time and place. The period in focus is 1990 to 2017 where the period of 2006-2016 is of special interest. Important programs and rationales are identified and agents over time at the education agora. ER: 20 PM. WP 4 is researching mass-media focusing on 2006-2018 and the public opinion 2014-2020 in relation to education qualities and crises and international comparisons. It is based on mass-media archives and ongoing Gallup surveys to national samples (n=6 400) carried out by the SOM-institute at Gothenburg University. ER: 10 PM plus SOM-costs. The progress of the research is managed by the specific monitoring WP (WP0) using two seminars with the international boards, presenting and reviewing research progress (M 24 and M 40), one stakeholder seminars (M 42), and three international research symposia (M 20, M 36, M 44). These meeting are part of the project deliverables. Deliverables are also (a) two books: one at M 40 on The Evolution of International Comparisons in Educational Research, and one at M 48 on The Development of a Comparativistic Paradigm in Education Policy and Practice. In the project we also plan to publish (b) ten scientific articles from the individual WPs and (c) two popular scientific texts – one in preparation of a stakeholder seminar (M 42) and one summarizing the research at the finalization of the project (M 48). Theoretical and methodological notions: As can be noted from the task put forwards and the survey of the field the proposed research is based on a set of concepts developed in different frameworks but compatible in this framework: Curriculum theory concepts of system of reason (Popkewitz & Rizvi, 2010) is important as a way to capture knowledge/power and analyses of educational practices. The science-society connection and the concept of agora are derived from the sociology of knowledge (Nowotny et al, 2003, Scott, 2012). Agora is by us understood as an abstract concept referring to contextualization of science in the coproduction of science and society – here in the sector of education within the comparativistic paradigm. The comparativistic paradigm and how this is addressed, translated and negotiated on an education agora is central in our research design and methodology. Our research strategy is to trace the comparativistic paradigms imprints on the education agora by means of interaction with different contexts. We plan to research it in the following way: For pragmatic reasons we start with the history of comparative education and the development of international large-scale assessments in terms of the introduction of programs by IEA, OECD and the EU. We then perform bibliometric studies on how research using or discussing data from international large-scale assessments evolve creating a specific language on educational issues as an example of the comparativistic paradigm. A second step is to analyze how and for what reasons international large-scale assessments and research using these kinds of data is referred to in educational contexts. We will here turn to policymaking and decisions and design of curricula (in the broad sense of the term). We will then go back to the research using data from large-scale assessments and so on in a dialectic research process. In order to get reference points outside this dialectic we trace the contextualizing agora in the public opinion - e.g. outside education - and in the academic design of curricula for educating e.g. teachers and researchers (as experts and analysts). When dealing with how research is communicated and established we turn to theories on system communication (Luhmann, 1995) and research communication (Leydesdorff, 2003). When going inside knowledge production we are using style of reasoning as an entry (Hacking, 1992) to analyze the production of valid statements and knowledge contributions in distinct research fields such as statistics and comparative education. By means of analyzing arguments and styles we will get detailed insights in knowledge contributions emerging within the comparativistic paradigm and how these correspond to the establishment of educational knowledge at the education agora and in educational practices. The research team – previous cooperation, specific competences and resources: The current research team is well prepared for the planned research. They have cooperated in previous research programs and have published together extensively in different constellations. Daniel Pettersson, at the University of Gävle and Uppsala University, is a young successful researcher – nationally and internationally – and a member of the STEP research group and editor of the Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy. He is now applying for an associate professorship. Gun-Britt Wärvik is associate professor and director of research education at Gothenburg University and a leader of the POP-group (Politics and Policy Research in Education). She has considerable merits as researcher and research coordinator of international research. Sverker Lindblad is professor at the University of Gothenburg and is starting as visiting professor at the University of Gävle, where he formerly served as a.scientific leader when having the Uppsala chair in education. Lindblad has a long record as research leader, nationally and internationally, and was e.g. the former President of the European Educational Research Association. Tom Popkewitz is professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a highly recognized international scholar and Honorary Doctor at several universities over the world. He has considerable knowledge of academic work in Sweden, as SCAS fellow and visiting professor as well as reviewer of educational research in Sweden - e.g. at the KOF 07 and 11 at Uppsala University. The research contexts of the team: The researchers are well located. Lindblad and Wärvik have their positions at the University of Gothenburg with a long record of successful educational research. Popkewitz is professor at one of the highest ranked US universities, where its educational research is highly recognized. Pettersson is at Gävle - a younger and expanding university - in close cooperation with Uppsala University. At Gävle they are developing international comparative education research. Here, Lindblad is participating as a researcher and research counselor with a special task to develop international research cooperation. The research team has extensive research networks - nationally, Nordic and internationally and the ongoing research will be presented and reviewed internationally. Of special interest here is the international advisory board. This board stem from an international seminar that we organized in Gothenburg with external grants (Education by the Number 8-9/6, 2015) and from the ongoing work with a book called Numbers, Education and the Making of Society: International Assessments and Its Expertise edited by Lindblad, Pettersson and Popkewitz with contributions from e.g. David Berliner, Arizona State University, Luis Miguel Carvalho, University of Lisbon, Radhika Gorur, Victoria University, Sotiria Grek, University of Edingburgh, Miguel Pereyra, University of Grenada, Daniel Tröhler, University of Luxembourg and Theodore M Porter, UCLA. Besides we have organized symposiums on both AERA and ECER on the themes of this application with participating researchers like Bob Lingard as well as other Nordic colleagues. To these qualifications and interests it has to be added that the research team also has an interest in participating in public discourses in education, as exemplified by the organization of stakeholder seminars and popularized texts on research.  Table 1: The organization of the project - work-packages and deliverables. (SM: start month, EM: end month) Work-package Research content Deliverables WP 0: Monitoring Organizing research meetings and reviewing of progress and deliverables as below. Meetings with the international advisory board at M 20 and M 40 SM 0 EM 48 Reports to VR WP 1: Production and reception of international comparative education research programs Coordinator: Pettersson. Coworkers: Lindblad and Popkewitz SM 0 EM 44 Book 1.1 A history of international education comparisons. Human-istic and social science traditions Document analyses and interviews with central actors. The Pearson overtake as a special issue SM 2, EM 30 Article Symposium 1.2 A systematic research review and communication pattern analyses Expanding from previous studies by the team. Analyses by means of bibliometric technologies (Discovery and VOSViewer) SM 0 EM 24 Article Symposium 1.3 Arguments and styles of reasoning in international large scale assessments Mapping and synthesizing research publications and research communication plus curriculum theory SM 20 EM 40 Article 1.4 Receptions of international comparative research in programs for research education Survey on doctoral education programs in Europe 2018 compared to 1998. Communication with comparative education societies SM 24 EM 44 Article Symposium WP 2: Changing discourses on welfare state education modelling Coordinator Wärvik. Coworkers: Lindblad, Pettersson and Popkewitz. SM 0 EM 40 Articles Symposium 2.1 A periodization of welfare state education Document analyses of education discourses and governing in international perspectives SM 2 EM 14 Article 2.2 Listening to policy actors Interviews with top policy makers and administrators SM 6 EM 36 Article 2.3 Teacher education responses Analyses of central teacher education programs, curricula, and interviews with teacher educators SM 18 EM 40 Article Meeting WP 3: The comparativistic paradigm in education Coordinator: Popkewitz. Coworker Lindblad Pettersson and Wärvik SM 20 EM 44 Book 3.1 Policy imprints in comparative education research Analyses of the comparativistic education agora. Actors and positions over time Article 3.2 Imprints from comparative education in policy discourses Analyses of the comparativistic education agora. Examining actors and positions over time Article 3.3 Analyses of comparativistic educational rationales and design Curriculum theorizing of education programs and comparativistic proposals Symposium WP 4: Reception of the comparativistic paradigm in mass media and the public opinion Coordinator: Lindblad. Coworker Wärvik. SM 0 EM 40 Article Report 4.1 Mass-media analyses Analyses of mass media on schools and international comparisons SM 10 EM 30 Article 4.2 The public opinion. Attitudes and changes 2014 - 2019 Analyses of the public opinion on education and mass-media by means of SOM-data. SM 0 EM 40 Article 4. Preliminary results As was presented in the research survey, the current research team has already carried out substantial research in the current field of study. Part of our research will be presented at the symposium this Autumn on "Research and policymaking in education” organized by the Wenner-Gren Foundations and The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in cooperation. Here a few comments: Firstly, the analyses of international comparative research have shown controversies and different trajectories. Current research reviews by the team have used advanced bibliometric tools and analyses of publication and communication patterns in this field of study and presented preliminary analyses of direct relevance for the proposed research in terms of knowledge organization and relevance of research. In sum, 18 PM research was already carried out when performing the systematic research review (Lindblad, et al. 2015). Secondly, analyses of the public opinion considering international comparisons by means of surveys of the SOM-institute have also been carried out. This took 3 PM of research. Here analyses for 2014 have been finalized and published – presenting a divided opinion with internal political tension. Design and instruments plus data are now available (Lindblad, Nilsson & Lindblad, 2015; 2016). Thirdly, a large amount of data and analyses considering the political and professional discourses and developments are collected in previous research by the research team during several years. It will very much facilitate current studies in the project which makes 20 PM a feasible demand for resources. Fourthly, we presented as a task - not big but of strategic importance - to analyze the European research community in terms of research education in international comparative research. This was to a little extent visible in the research communities 20 years ago according to a previous study (Gretler, 2007; Lindblad 2015). It would be of great interest - and little of resource costs - to redo this European study, facilitated by our extensive and assumingly unique international networks. 5. Significance This research project on educational knowledge in a knowledge society will clarify how socially recognized educational facts and reasoning are produced and translated in education governance, educational practices, as well as in the organization of knowledge for educational research. It is of vital importance for mapping the changing landscape of the important education sector in the knowledge society with changing relations and spaces for interaction between different positions in research and society. While new actors are introduced in relations between policy and research and while the dynamics of interaction seem to change, this has gone under the radar of studies of current educational policy and research. To analyze this is not only of importance for understanding current national and international policy discourses but also for the clarification of ongoing processes in terms of globalization and standardization practices in education and education research, and to capture implications of the introduction of new actors forming an in-between space between research and policy/invention programs. Understanding the functioning of the education agora in generating epistemic and institutional practices are thus of outmost societal and academic relevance. To this is added that the proposed research will deliver significant independent contributions on international comparisons in education, on education governance in transition, on citizens’ opinions on education over time, and on the education of analysts and experts on international comparative education in Europe. By means of international networking and cooperation the proposed research have the ambition to contribute to a strengthening of the intellectual organization of education research in Sweden and Europe.

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