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Kunskapsfrågan: En läroplansteoretisk studie av den svenska gymnasieskolans reformer mellan 1960-talet och 2010-talet
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of pedagogy.
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In a society where the labour market is becoming increasingly knowledge intensive and more differentiated, education has assumed greater importance for the capitalist states integrative functions as for the competitiveness in the global economy. As a consequence, the educational system has become a key governing resource for the state to meet and manage different kinds of social changes and problems. Against this background the thesis raises the main question - “what kind of societal problems are the educational reforms studied here considered to be the solution of?” The aim of this thesis is to deepen the understanding of the changes of the formation of knowledge in Swedish upper secondary curriculum between the 1960s and 2010s. In what way attained these changes in view of knowledge legitimacy in relation to the socioeconomic context? And what do these changes mean in terms of the attribution of the positioning of upper secondary school pupils and teachers?


This thesis draws on a “classical” theoretical framework of curriculum theory (i.e. the frame-factor theory) this means that the analytical focus is directed at the relationship between the content of the curriculum and the social context. With theoretical and methodological inspiration from critical realism and critical discourse analysis (CDA) the thesis argue for an alternative way to theoretical and empirical examined this relationship. Three historical reform periods are used to explore the discursive changes in the formation of knowledge in the Swedish upper secondary education reforms.


The results show how changes in socioeconomic conditions, such as economic crisis, over time have acted as important triggers for governing mechanisms embedded in the control of the educational system. These changes and mechanisms, in turn, have resulted in some major discursive knowledge shifts between the reforms studied, from the 1960s combination of an economic-rational and an objective-subject knowledge discourse, through the deregulated goal-rational and socio-cultural oriented knowledge discourse of the 1990s towards the 2010s knowledge discourses that are characterized by an increased focus on learning outcomes and measurability. Against the background of these discursive shifts, the analysis also points to some underlying continuities in terms of a general “reform imperative”, based on a number of overarching values ​​such as efficiency and rationality. The result show how this imperative was embedded in all three educational reforms and has ruled the order of discourses about what was deemed to be legitimate curriculum knowledge, a professional teacher and a desirable pupil.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2013. , 310 p.
Linnaeus University Dissertations, 152/2013
Keyword [en]
politics of knowledge, educational reform, curriculum content, governing mechanism, socioeconomic change, upper secondary school, critical realism, teacher, pupil, critical discourse analysis, discursive shifts
National Category
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-29175ISBN: 978-91-87427-59-6OAI: diva2:652998
Public defence
2013-11-08, Homeros, Växjö, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2013-10-08 Created: 2013-10-02 Last updated: 2013-10-23Bibliographically approved

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Adolfsson, Carl-Henrik
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