Ethics, values and norms

The content, methods and institutional forms of education are designed based on a number of different norms, whilst education contributes to constructing, changing and consolidating norms and values. In the field of ethics, we study people's moral standpoints.

Research in these areas poses questions such as: What norms and values form the basis of the educational content and organisation? What ethical and moral choices are teachers forced to make? What do we learn in school about what is normal, abnormal, possible or impossible? It is about the conditions for education and those being educated, about how education helps to create, mediate and change various values and norms, as well as the ethical standpoints on which they are based.

On a social and political level, it is a matter of what norms and values should be fundamental in education, questions about its content and function, and consequences for society and the individual. Which values and norms are expressed in the management of objectives, choice of school and the school reform, for example? From a more individual perspective, it is a matter of aspects such as participation, discrimination and marginalisation.

One central goal is to critically evaluate how dominating discourses improve and change players' opportunities to actively participate in school, in order to highlight the fact that educational activities always comprise aspects of power.

Research ultimately aims to contribute to education that is of an equal standard and which prepares pupils and students for living in and forming a society characterised by diversity, complexity and change. There was a time when Sweden strived for equal education for all. Today this has been replaced by an increasingly segregated education that both reinforces inequality and leads to poorer performance.

Many values and norms that previously characterised education systems, both in Sweden and abroad, have transformed and created new conditions for learning and upbringing. The research in this area looks at norms concerning gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class and age. These are studied in different educational programmes, as well as in media material on education and in national and international policy material.

The ethical dilemmas of different professions constitute one research area within the field of ethics. LiU has a long-standing tradition of research in this area. Empirical studies of teachers' professional ethical problems and dilemmas have shown how teachers are faced with countless tough ethical and moral choices in their everyday practices.

These may include the difficulty of intervening when colleagues' actions towards the pupils are unethical or the difficulty in being fair. One consequence of not acting in accordance with one's moral convictions is moral stress.


Man in refugee camp behind the Belgrade Central Station

Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society - REMESO

The institute conducts research with a multilevel approach to the understanding of migration, ethnicity and society.

Young woman reads a cartoon magasin.

Costumed Heroes in the Classroom

Comics touch on subjects such as ethnicity, gender and class in provoking and engaging ways. This project contributes to understanding of how comics can be used in school for engaging in norm-critical discussions through image and text.

An ancestry-segregated school class friendship network.

Peer influence or discrimination? Understanding the mechanisms behind ethnic differences in school achievement.

This project explores the achievement gaps in schools among students from different ethnic backgrounds. By analysing data from European youth and Swedish registers, we aim to increase awareness of bias in the education system.