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Critical studies of norms in society – mission statement

Research project This programme of work investigates shifting norms in a time when the state-citizen civil contract is under negotiation. We are interested in exploring how neoliberal ideas give licence to different imagined ideals of citizenship and how this plays out and is negotiated in various national institutions such as the home, the school and the workplace.

Contact

Ann-Louise Silfver
Associate professor
E-mail
Email

Project overview

Project period:

Start date: 2020-06-30

Funding

Umeå University

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Education

Research subject

Pedagogy

Project description

We understand these negotiations as taking place in a specific historical time and context, i.e. in present day Sweden, made possible by political reforms such as:

  • The privatization of care/renegotiation of the welfare state
  • The increase/burgeoning of international assessment programmes in schools and the introduction of élite schools
  • Changing labour market relations for instance in relation to unemployment benefits and conflict rights

These societal/political shifts are not top-down ideological impositions. Rather we understand them to be complex negotiations of possibilities that produce and reproduce mundane, shifting norms about desirable citizenship in homes, schools and in the workplace. They also (re)inforce social divisions (e.g. age, gender, social class, ethnicity, nation) and identities. How this happens is, however, far from clear.

The Critical Studies of Norms in Society research group engages with shifts in state ideology and provision to conduct multi-sited empirical investigations with adults and children from diverse groups within Swedish society. Studies within the research group are informed by a norm critical theoretical frame, making possible the study of transformations of the normative. The group uses multiple, traditional and cutting-edge methods, in homes, schools and workplaces.