Det kritiska uppdraget

Diskurser och praktiker i gymnasieskolans svenskundervisning
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Nemeth, Ulrika


The aim of the study is to investigate constructions and discourses of criticality, and how these are related to teachers’ conceived subject of Swedish concerning the development of students’ critical consciousness. The study is qualitative, and is based on three different materials: focus talks between teachers, international and national policy documents and frameworks, and classroom observations. The theoretical framework combines Bernstein’s code theory (classification framing, elaborated and restricted code, knowledge structures) and critical literacy as outlined by Freire, particularly the concept of critical transitivity. The analytical framework combines tools from systemic functional linguistics (transitivity, modality) and van Leeuwen’s discourse analysis (actors, activities and legitimations), where discourses are seen as recontextualizations of social practices. The research questions posed are:

  • How are educational, critical practices constructed as discourses in international policy documents and frameworks and in the national curriculum for the subject of Swedish, and how do they relate to the critical task of the subject of Swedish?
  • How do teachers of Swedish construct the critical task in relation to their conceptions of the nucleus and boundaries of the subject, and of its knowledge practices?
  • Which critical textual practices are or could be shaped within the subject of Swedish?

Analyses of policy documents show that high-status actors (OECD and EU) and the Swedish national curriculum constructions of the critical are legitimated by unquestionable reality claims, and are associated with clusters of discourses as aspects of competences and skills. The analysis of the focus talks and the classroom instruction shows that some of these discourses are included in conceptions and legitimations of the critical. Some of these are also included in teachers’ discourses of the critical tasks. These tasks are mostly seen as external and are mainly realized by unreflected doing, and are therefore not part of teachers’ intrinsic conceptions of what criticality in the subject of Swedish should embrace. Teachers’ intrinsic critical task is only enacted as an exception, turning the critical task into a wished one. The exceptions, however, seem to be realized in generally strongly framed practices, where students “see” things based on Swedish subject knowledge. The results indicate that the subject of Swedish might provide specific ways to move towards critical transitivity, and a fruitful encounter of such a transitivity and Bernstein’s vertical discourse.

Huddinge : Södertörns högskola, 2021. s. 325.

ISBN 978-91-89109-86-5

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