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A piece of resistance: Exploring behaviour assessment and political subjectification in a Swedish upper secondary school
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies.
2014 (English)In: QSE. International journal of qualitative studies in education, ISSN 0951-8398, E-ISSN 1366-5898, Vol. 27, no 5, 626-640 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In 2007, students at a Swedish Upper Secondary School engaged in a series of protests and demonstrations against the implementation of a written assessment of student conduct. This article explores the motivations and manifestations of this resistance, mainly by analysing debate articles and web material from the student union that organized the protests, but also by drawing on news articles, policy documents and interview material in order to grasp how this resistance was received by advocates of the conduct assessment. Making use of Mouffe’s and Rancière’s theories on political dissent, as well as Foucauldian power perspectives, the article discusses the students’ resistance in relation to political subjectification, concluding that it serves as an important manifestation of individual as well as collective engagement in school democracy, and personal student integrity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2014. Vol. 27, no 5, 626-640 p.
Keyword [en]
discipline; subjectification; dissent; resistance; student democracy
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-28684DOI: 10.1080/09518398.2013.805448OAI: diva2:642200
Available from: 2013-08-21 Created: 2013-08-21 Last updated: 2015-06-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Disciplin och motstånd: Pedagogisk-filosofiska perspektiv på samtida svensk skoldisciplin
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Disciplin och motstånd: Pedagogisk-filosofiska perspektiv på samtida svensk skoldisciplin
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Discipline and Resistance : Educational-Philosophical Perspectives on Contemporary Swedish School Discipline
Abstract [en]

As Sweden approached its 2006 national election, issues on order and discipline in educational environments came to the forefront of educational interest, debate, and reform. This thesis aims at a critical discussion of the discourses in question, making use of educational, post-structural as well as political philosophy. In a series of articles, disciplinary policies are contextualized within current understandings of major trends in global educational politics; empirically investigated with a focus on resistance and political subjectivation; but also theoretically/ philosophically examined with the intention of bringing alternative conceptualizations of discipline to light.

As a result, it is concluded that the political platform supporting contemporary school discipline is highly ambiguous, especially in terms of the different subjectification ideals that it embodies. In consequence, substantial possibilities for resistance, political influence and creative subjectification emerge in the breaks and ruptures between neoliberal and neoconservative territory. As for the disciplinary policies themselves, this thesis highlights the possibility that they amount to little more than a powerful simulation; a mode of perceptual management rather than a hands-on engagement with the real demands of contemporary education.

An alternative route, the thesis suggests, would be to radically re-conceptualize the meaning and relevance of discipline – using, for instance, philosophers like Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari and Jacques Rancière – but also while taking notice of relevant discussions in the fields of complexity and chaos theory. Such a re-conceptualization would allow for an immanent form of discipline, one that affords a circular segmentation to emerge; contextualized and sensitized to the particular demands of each learning situation rather than pre-stratified, pre-territorialized according to the ideals of classical discipline.

Abstract [sv]

Syftet med den här avhandlingen är, att inom ett pedagogiskt-filosofiskt ramverk föra en kritisk diskussion av 2000-talets skolpolitiska diskurser om disciplin och ”ordning & reda”. Med hjälp av filosofer som Deleuze & Guattari, Foucault, Baudrillard och Rancière diskuteras den moderna disciplinens utmaning: att svara an på sin egen samtids behov av ordning och reda.


I sömmarna mellan de politiska krafter som den nya disciplinen hämtar sin kraft ur – neoliberalism och neokonservatism – identifierar avhandlingen också möjligheter till motstånd. Genom att påvisa de skillnader och komplexiteter som finns under ytan av politisk konsensus, utgör dessa former av motstånd nya potentialer till politiskt inflytande – samt nya möjligheter till kreativa subjektblivanden.


Slutligen hävdar studien, att vägen till en gräsrotsförankrad skoldisciplin för 2000-talet knappast kan ligga i återuppväckandet av forna tiders maktutövning, utan i en radikal omtolkning av disciplinbegreppet – en som tillvaratar den moderna människans förutsättningar till självdisciplin och självorganisering. En förutsättning är att vi, som en kontrast till neoliberalismens självtillräckliga subjektivitetsideal, börjar utforska subjektivitetens kollektiva och territoriella karaktärer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2013. 84 p.
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2013:36
Discipline, Resistance, Power, Subject, Subjectivation, Subjectification, Order, Chaos, Complexity, Deleuze, Guattari, Foucault, Rancière, Baudrillard, Neoliberalism, Neoconservatism, Disciplin, motstånd, makt, subjekt, subjektivering, subjektifiering, ordning, kaos, komplexitet, Deleuze, Guattari, Foucault, Rancière, Baudrillard, nyliberalism, nykonservatism
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-28647 (URN)978-91-7063-514-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-10-04, 9C203, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2013-09-16 Created: 2013-08-15 Last updated: 2013-09-18Bibliographically approved

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