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Den nödvändiga osäkerheten: Elevers perspektiv på respekt i relationer i skolan
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Education, Department of Education. (UBB)
2012 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The necessary uncertainty : Students' perspective on respect in relationships in school (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis deals with students’ views on respect as an element in their relationships with teachers and peers. The purpose of the thesis is to gain further knowledge of relationships in school by applying concepts of the theory of ethical demand in the analysis of students’ descriptions of respect in their relationships with their teachers and peers.

The theoretical basis of the study is the theory of the ethical demand (Løgstrup, 1997) which is supplemented with Thomas Ziehe’s (1986/2003, 1993) theoretical concepts of proximity and distance in relationships. An important point of departure for the study is the meaning of relationships in education. According to Løgstrup, interrelationship is seen as a characteristic feature of human existence, and respect and trust as the natural basis in human relationships.

The empirical material consists of 21 group interviews with 69 students aged 14 attending two Swedish schools. The interviews were conducted as semi-structured qualitative interviews aiming to understand the students’ perspective on respect in relationships in school.

The results show that respect is described as a reciprocal phenomenon in the students’ relationships. The students’ starting-point was in experiences of disrespect, which indicates that it is difficult to describe respect. The students picture respectful relationships to teachers with a wish of being seen for who they are, e.g. by equal treatment, being listened to and existentially confirmed. The students’ disrespectful relationships to teachers deal with descriptions of teachers’ inability to listen, abuse of power, and teachers’ inability to teach with structure and planning. Respect in peer relations is described as allowing a person to be the way she or he is. Honesty is important in peer relations due to the students’ need to see the other person’s true self in order to get to know him or her, which is their starting point for respectful peer relations. The theoretical interpretation of these results gives an understanding of respect as an essentially human need to reciprocally affirming the life of one another.

The overall conclusion is that respect is given a deeper understanding as a human phenomenon in relationships, something that goes beyond the students’ volition. Disrespectful relationships force the students to harbour mistrust and insecurity when interacting with peers and teachers. Respectful relationships in school are seen as necessary for the students’ possibilities to enjoy life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2012.
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2012:10
Keyword [en]
respect, trust, relationships, student perspective, school, the ethical demand, K.E. Løgstrup
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-11960ISBN: 978-91-7063-414-7OAI: diva2:507169
Public defence
2012-04-13, Nyquistsalen, 9C 203, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2012-03-21 Created: 2012-03-02 Last updated: 2012-03-21Bibliographically approved

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