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  • Public defence: 2018-06-01 13:15 9C 203, Nyquistsalen, Karlstad
    Olsson, David
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Political, Historical, Religious and Cultural Studies (from 2013).
    Conditions of ‘Sustainability’: The Case of Climate Change Adaptation in Sweden2018Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    By describing climate change as one of the greatest challenges of our time, the Swedish government has expressed a commitment to climate change adaptation as an integral part of the country’s sustainable development efforts. Sweden has also been portrayed as a frontrunner of climate policy and sustainable development. However, research and rankings describe even the ‘good example’ of Sweden as unsustainable, including its responses to climate change. Transformation is needed.

    Based on the ‘what’s the problem represented to be?’ (WPR) approach, this thesis describes and problematizes conditions of ‘sustainability’ constituted through problem representations of governing climate change adaptation in Sweden. In addition, the study provides a discussion of alternative problem representations constituting conditions with new possibilities for transformation.

    The empirical material for the analysis of current conditions in Sweden consists of policy documents as well as interviews with municipal and regional experts involved in promoting and implementing adaptation. I also analyze conditions constituted through problem representations in research. These are used as points of comparison for the problematization of conditions in Sweden.

    My conclusions are that the current conditions of ‘sustainability’, constituted through the problem representations in Sweden, create a focus on advancing functional governance of adaptation as well as a focus on reducing marginalization of neglected sustainability concerns by integrating them with the current order of things. Problematizations of domination are largely absent. I argue that possibilities for transformation could be advanced by problematizing domination. Through problematizations of the current decentralization of responsibility, the integration imperative, and the primacy of economic growth over environmental and social dimensions of sustainability, I suggest ways in which this type of problematization could be facilitated.

  • Public defence: 2018-06-08 13:30 11D121, Karlstad
    Thörne, Karin
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).
    Linguistic Challenges in Science Education: A Classroom Study of Teachers’ and Students’ use of Central Concepts in Genetics2018Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis examines linguistic aspects of genetics education and is based on the view that language is an essential dimension of teaching and learning. Its objective is to clarify how teachers and students use genetics concepts in real teaching situations. By studying the spoken language used in lessons, I explore how teachers present the subject and the opportunities students have to learn to use the specific language of genetics. These explorations help explain why genetics is such a challenging topic to teach and learn, as shown by previous studies. My study is based on observations and recordings of genetics lessons for grade nine students, i.e. students in the final year of compulsory education in the Swedish school system. Four classes were followed as they progressed through the genetics unit. The corpus was analyzed with different linguistic methods to reveal patterns in the way teachers use and interrelate core concepts such as gene, DNA and chromosome, how they connect the concepts of gene and trait, and how students are involved in dialogue about core genetics concepts. Teachers were found to use genetics concepts with varying meanings and interrelated words in many different ways, resulting in an ambiguous and inconsistent communication of the genetics content in the classroom. The students used the genetics concepts much less frequently than the teachers, and mainly used them in short sentences. This suggests that current teaching practices do not give students enough opportunities to develop the language of genetics. My results demonstrate several aspects of classroom talk that could contribute to the learning difficulties associated with genetics. It will be important to take these aspects into account when seeking to improve the teaching of this subject.