Volume 2, No. 2, June 2011

Education Inquiry is a new international online, peer-reviewed journal with free access in the field of Educational Sciences and Teacher Education. It is published by the Umeå School of Education, Umeå University, Sweden and is issued four times per year (March, June, September, December). Education Inquiry can be downloaded in full extent as well as selected articles.

Per-Olof Erixon



This issue of Education Inquiry is dedicated to Professor Lisbeth Lundahl, Umeå University, to mark the occasion of her 60th birthday on 13 May 2011. Several of her Umeå-affiliated colleagues in Sweden and abroad contribute papers related to Lisbeth’s areas of interest and work.


In the article The Origin of Special Education in Sweden Karl-Georg Ahlström analyses the forces behind the establishment and expansion of special education within the Swedish elementary school between 1842, when schooling became compulsory, and the gradual introduction of the experimental comprehensive school in the 1950s.

In International politics and national reforms:The dynamics between “competence”
and the “inclusive school” in Norwegianeducation policies
, inclusive education is analysed from the perspective of the interlinked, dynamic relationship between international neo-liberal movements and national policies and practices.The article is written by Anne-Lise Arnesen.

Certain common elements can be identified regarding teacher education development in advanced knowledge-based economies. One of these is the attempt, up until relatively recently, to develop a solid foundation of scientific professional knowledge for what Basil Bernstein called the teacher education Trivium: roughly speaking, pedagogical sciences: approximately the psychology, sociology and philosophy of education. The article Education Science in Sweden:Promoting Research for Teacher Education or Weakening its Scientific Foundations? is written by Dennis Beach.

Per-Olof Erixon explores in Academic Literacies; Discourse and Epistemology in a Swedish University the perceptions of active senior researchers from different scientific and scholarly areas about scientific and scholarly writing, specifically that associated with research.

Ingrid Gogolin shows in The Challenge of Super Diversity for Education in Europe that children and youth at risk are a major challenge facing education systems in Europe. Some systems seem to be mastering this challenge better than others.

Drawing on their experience of working in Sweden and seeking to help colleagues enter the prestigious culture of Anglophone academic text production, the article Dancing at the Edge: Writing for the Academic Marketplace explores the landscape of academic writing and publishing. David Hamilton och Gaby Weiner have written the article.

The need to promote gender equality within and through education has been on the agenda in Europe for decades. Similarly, Finland has also evidenced a history of hundreds of projects and reports that have repeated the same aims, ideas and practical innovations for promoting equality, challenging educational segregation and providing girl-friendly or boy-friendly pedagogies. However, the actual pace of change has been very slow. In Gender Awareness in Finnish Teacher Education: an Impossible Mission? Elina Lahelma discuss some of the constraints that feminist teachers and teacher educators constantlyface in this endeavour.

In England, over the last decade, powerful technologies and software have enabled a new way of governing education through performance data. This has allowed the landscape of education to be reshaped. Its surface features continue but underneath new connections are made and older relations severed. Data flows travel between schools and central government through private company conduits. The local authority, “City”, studied in a case study in Governing through Data in English Education is bypassed and yet still tries to retain a positive local role. The article is written by Martin Lawn.

The processes of learning mathematics are immensely complex and we largely lack insights into these processes. This is especially problematic when it comes to tertiary mathematics education, which has been much less researched than primary and secondary mathematics education. It is thus far from possible to clarify all relevant issues related to university mathematics learning difficulties. In University Mathematics Students’ Learning Difficulties Johan Lithner discuss the notion of learning difficulties and some related insights.

New public management and the neo-liberal principles that sustain it have driven performance agendas in government across Europe and beyond. This has produced a loss of the traditional role of education in creating a coherent and persuasive collective myth of belonging, identity or purpose. In Governing Narratives:
“local” meanings and globalising education policy
Jenny Ozga discusses current developments in the policy technologies of performance management in England and Scotland in order to assess the continuing significance of “local” narratives in mediating global pressures for policy convergence.

From 2000 to 2009 Umeå University had a genuine faculty board for teacher education that was responsible for both first-cycle teaching and research training. The board itself was an innovation in the Swedish high school system and introduced a new practice-oriented subject for the doctoral degree, pedagogiskt arbete (“Educational Work”). In Reform and Reaction in Teacher Education at Umeå University the origin, development and abolition of this faculty board, as perceived by a former Vice-Chancellor, is sketched against the background of political trends and academic rivalries.

The belief in continuous progress towards a “better world” and the conviction that good is associated with knowledge and learning have a long tradition. On these bases, expectations have arisen that education substantially contributes to a “better world”. The paper Education for “a better world”: is it still possible? by Pavel Zgaga reconsiders this contribution from the aspect of modern progress made in the internationalisation and globalisation of education.

Drawing on a study of a Swedish secondary school with a heterogeneous intake, the article Class and ethnicity at work. Segregation and conflict in a Swedish secondary school provides an analysis of the social relations and segregation within an individual school. As shown in the analysis, young people from different socioeconomic backgrounds were largely separated in school, differently positioned and in conflict with each other. The article is written by Elisabet Öhrn.

Page Editor: Marie Oskarsson

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