Norms Inclusion Exclusion and Participation

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Within this research area, we initiate questions about and conduct research on what is taken for granted and constitutes “the normal” in various educational contexts. This offers important knowledge about the conditions of participation in educational life.

The point of departure for the field “Norms, Inclusion, Exclusion and Participation” is that the preschool, youth center and compulsory school play a central role in the construction and maintenance of as well as changes in notions of society and the individual.

This is not least expressed through these institutions’ task of raising children to be citizens. The various educational institutions are both the product of and bearers of a number of common norms.

These norms concern, for example:

  • childhood
  • knowledge
  • democracy
  • nation
  • gender
  • class
  • ethnicity
  • sexuality
  • functionality

These norms are manifested in not only how the institutions’ premises are designed and regulations regarding their activities, but also in the activities themselves as well as their educational content. At the same time, there is a constant creation, negotiation and changing of norms at preschools, youth centers and schools. Various practices whereby boundaries are challenged and confirmed, construct notions of what is considered normal and divergent – as well as what significance these normalcies and divergences should be given concerning groups and individuals.

Therefore, within this research area we ask questions about and conduct research on what is taken for granted and constitutes “the normal” in various educational contexts. This offers important knowledge about the conditions of participation in educational life. By studying how norms appear to be dominant, and which norms are allowed to dominate, we can understand which individuals and groups are included and which ones are excluded in various educational contexts. The norms we are most interested in are those associated with gender, ethnicity, age, sexuality, class and functionality. A central aim of our research is to critically examine how dominating discourses within the educational sector – not least concerning educational content and goals – repeat, confirm and change actors’ possibilities to participate in everyday spheres in educational settings. Through this, we wish to highlight that activities at preschools, youth centers and schools as well as other educational contexts always entail aspects of power.

Within this area we use a broad spectrum of theoretical tools, including:

  • Gender Theory
  • Queer Theory
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Critical Pedagogy
  • Discourse Theory
  • Post-structuralism
  • Post-humanism

Common to these theoretical approaches is the ambition to deconstruct and critically examine how norms, categories and different ways of understanding our surroundings are constructed inter/intra-actively in relationships between various human and non-human actors and institutions.

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