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Samhällsfrågor som didaktiskt begrepp i samhällskunskap på gymnasieskolan: En potential för undervisningen
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies. Högskolan Dalarna. (Pedagogiskt arbete)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4518-0239
2017 (Swedish)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Social Issues as a Didactical Concept in Social Studies in Upper Secondary School (English)
Abstract [sv]

Undervisningen i samhällskunskap på gymnasieskolan ska enligt anvisningarna i ämnesplanen bedrivas ”med utgångspunkt i samhällsfrågor”. Vad innebär det? I denna licentiatuppsats diskuteras ämnet samhällskunskap och dess potential, analyserat utifrån samhällsfrågor som didaktiskt begrepp. Studien är en sammanläggning av tre artiklar som bygger på tre studier. I den första studien analyseras begreppet samhällsfrågor i styrdokument över tid. Den andra studien bygger på en enkät som 74 gymnasielärare i samhällskunskap besvarat. Den tredje studien är slutligen en intervjustudie med sju av de lärare som medverkat i enkätstudien. Studiens design medger en successiv förflyttning av fokus från struktur till aktör.

När analysen riktas mot samhällsfrågor som didaktiskt begrepp framträder samhällskunskapsämnet som ett ämne som är öppet för det oväntade och som låter såväl aktuella händelser som elevers genuina frågor forma ämnet. I uppsatsen diskuteras argument för att undervisning som sker med utgångspunkt i samhällsfrågor kan motverka ett instrumentellt förhållningssätt till ämnet.

Göran Morén är verksam som lärarutbildare vid Högskolan Dalarna. Han har tidigare erfarenhet som samhällskunskapslärare i gymnasieskola. Sedan 2013 har han ingått i forskarskolan Skolnära, ett samarbete mellan Karlstads universitet och Högskolan Dalarna.

Abstract [en]

This licentiate thesis examines and discusses the potential of the subject social studies by way of an analysis of the concept social issues. It comprises three articles which are based on three separate studies. The first was a discourse analysis on the concept of social issues in steering documents for social studies in upper secondary school from the 1960’s until the current curriculum. The second was a questionnaire in which 74 social studies teachers answered questions regarding their understanding and teaching of social studies, specifically in relation to the concept of social issues. The third study was based on interviews with seven teachers who had completed the questionnaire.

The study allows for a shift in focus between structure and agency. Whereas the structure dominates the analysis in the first article the teachers, with agency, gradually move into the foreground in the other articles. With a social-constructionist perspective, phenomena like a school subject and teaching practice are seen as formed by both structure, such as discourse, and agents, in this case professional teachers.

The text analysis shows that social issues as a didactical concept is shifting in its meaning and didactical function for the subject depending on the discourse. It is argued that social issues, in the current steering documents, are downplayed in relation to concepts like “core content” and “knowledge requirements”. The questionnaire that followed showed that teachers had an understanding of social issues that challenged the logic of the previous discourse analysis. They seemed to find it possible to combine “teaching with social issues as the point of departure” with the predefined content and knowledge requirements of the subject syllabus. Based on the results of the final interview study the third article argues that the subject social studies, when seen through the lens of social issues, is one that is open, strives beyond the limitations of  core content and calls for  authentic, sometimes controversial content.

The conclusion of the licentiate thesis is that the concept of social issues carries the potential to create a subject that is meaningful for students and that challenges the risk of school becoming instrumental.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2017. , 89 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2017:17
Keyword [en]
Social issues, social studies, upper secondary school
Keyword [sv]
Samhällsfrågor, samhällskunskap, gymnasieskolan
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Educational Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48190ISBN: 978-91-7063-775-9 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7063-776-6 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-48190DiVA: diva2:1089958
Presentation
2017-06-01, Högskolan Dalarna, Föreläsningssal 5, Högskolegatan 2, Falun, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-05-11 Created: 2017-04-21 Last updated: 2017-05-11Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The struggling concept of social issues in social studies: A discourse analysis on the use of a central concept in syllabuses for social studies in Swedish upper secondary school
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The struggling concept of social issues in social studies: A discourse analysis on the use of a central concept in syllabuses for social studies in Swedish upper secondary school
2015 (English)In: Journal of Social Science Education, ISSN 1611-9665, E-ISSN 1618-5293, Vol. 14, no 1, 6-18 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This is a study of how the concept of social issues was used in various ways in syllabuses for the school subject Samhällskunskap (Social Studies) in Swedish upper secondary school from 1965 to 2011. The concept is present in all syllabuses, be it with shifting status and position. A discourse analysis of syllabus texts shows how the concept of social issues in some contexts functions as a subject content among other contents, while functioning as a central, organizing principle in others. This analysis also shows how the use of the concept social issues further indicates what educational philosophies and working methods are advocated in the syllabuses. The use of the concept may in turn be interpreted as part of a discursive struggle of powers between advocators of a differentiated upper secondary school model on the one hand and advocators of a unified upper-secondary school model on the other. In this sense, the study of a single concept used in syllabuses may contribute to a discussion about larger educational discourse and the normativity embedded in education in general and in the school subject Samhällskunskap in particular.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bielefeld University, 2015
Keyword
Social issues, Social studies, syllabus, upper secondary school, discourse analysis
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Educational Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48195 (URN)10.2390/jsse-v14-i1-1374 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-03-22 Created: 2017-03-22 Last updated: 2017-04-21Bibliographically approved
2. Samhällsfrågor i samhällskunskaps­undervisningen
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Samhällsfrågor i samhällskunskaps­undervisningen
2016 (Swedish)In: Kapet, Vol. 12, no 1, 95-115 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [sv]

Den här artikeln är en del av ett licentiatprojekt om samhällsfrågor som didaktiskt utmaning. Utgångspunkten är begreppet samhällsfrågor, som förekommer i ämnesplanen för samhällskunskap i gymnasieskolan. Detta är den andra delstudien i projektet, som också innehåller en läroplansstudie och en kommande intervjustudie. Empirin för denna artikel utgörs av en enkät med 74 gymnasielärare i samhällskunskap där de fått redogöra för hur de uppfattar begreppet samhällsfrågor som det framträder i styrdokumenten, vilken innebörd det har för och i deras undervisning och hur det förhåller sig till andra centrala begrepp i ämnesplanen, företrädesvis centralt innehåll och förmågor (som ska bedömas enligt kunskapskraven). En grund för analysen hämtas från tidigare forskning och läroplansstudien av begreppet samhällsfrågor, där ett dubbelt spänningsfält gällande såväl undervisningens upplägg som syfte tecknas. Detta spänningsfält ses som utgångspunkten för en möjlig logik. Resultatet visar att det inte var lätt att positionera lärarna utifrån det konstaterade spänningsfältet. Den dominerande bilden från lärarenkäten uppvisar en alternativ logik. Enligt den framhäver man inte spänningen mellan en undervisning med utgångspunkt i frågor och en undervisning med utgångspunkt i ett förutbestämt innehåll. Man tonar också ner spänningen mellan ett syfte i form av utvecklandet av förmågor och ett syfte i form av förmedlandet av ett bestämt innehåll.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2016
Keyword
Samhällsfrågor, samhällskunskap, centralt innehåll, förmågor
National Category
Pedagogical Work Pedagogy
Research subject
Educational Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-43711 (URN)
Conference
Andra nationella konferensen i Pedagogiskt arbete 2015
Available from: 2016-06-28 Created: 2016-06-28 Last updated: 2017-04-21
3. "Social Issues Open up Social Studies": Upper Secondary Teachers' Coneptions of, and Didactial Reflections upon the Subject.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"Social Issues Open up Social Studies": Upper Secondary Teachers' Coneptions of, and Didactial Reflections upon the Subject.
2017 (English)In: Nordidactica: Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education, ISSN 2000-9879, no 2, 1-24 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article identifies and discusses conceptions of the Swedish school subject social studies in upper secondary school through an empirical study consisting of qualitative interviews with seven teachers of social studies. The curriculum declares that teaching social studies shall be done with “social issues as the point of departure”. The analysis focuses on the teachers’ didactical reflections on the subject specific concept of social issues in relation to their own teaching practice. Conclusions that are made are that the approach of teaching social studies with ‘social issues as the  point of departure’ leads to conceptions of social studies as being a subject that is open to the unexpected and that transcends its borders, and with its purpose seen as its content, or put differently: the ‘what’ defined through, or as, its ‘why’. It seems more relevant to discuss what the social issues, as a didactical concept, do to the subject rather than what they are. The very quest for a certain core in the subject is being challenged. A reflection on these results leads to a discussion on the potential intrinsic value of social issues in teaching social studies.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2017
Keyword
Social studies, social issues, didactics, upper secondary school, teaching
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Educational Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48269 (URN)
Available from: 2017-04-06 Created: 2017-04-06 Last updated: 2017-05-30Bibliographically approved

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