Mette Buchardt

February 8 @ 4 pm

Co-sponsored by the Center for European Studies and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.  Introduced and organized by Thomas Popkewitz, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction as part of the Center for European Studies Spring 2021 Virtual Lecture Series and as part of the  Internationalizing Educational Knowledge Virtual Public Lecture Series.

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A Nordic exceptionalism and its variations in education reform processes. The case of Danish modern political history

Abstract: The Nordic Model of Education, an ideological program and narrative used to characterize the education systems that developed in the (at present) five Nordic welfare states and which by its proponents is often claimed to be exceptional globally, is defined by the goal of creating social mobility through education, and by the aim of schooling citizens into a mentality of equity and equal participation suitable for the welfare state. At present in the context of the Danish welfare state, a relaunch of so-called dannelse (Bildung, forming) as a symbol of a Nordic cultural democratic tradition and educational progressivism has gathered a mixed crowd of leftists, national conservatives and neo-Grundtvigians, i.e. nationally oriented Cultural Christians in the Folk High School tradition. However, “dannelse” have played a much more complicated and shifting role in Danish political reform history. In for instance the post-World War Two reform processes, “dannelse” was identified with useless knowledge; as opposite to the “real life” orientation that was to direct school. By means of examples of the different role ascribed to and meaning of “dannelse”, the lecture offers insights in how the Danish version of the Nordic welfare-state “school for all” has been crafted since Denmark started its development into a modern welfare nation state from late 19th century onwards.

Professor Mette Buchardt is the head of Centre for Education Policy Research, Aalborg University Denmark. Her research areas include the history of education, comparative welfare state studies, comparative education research, education policy and politics, didactics- and curriculum studies, church history and historical religion research. She specializes in the relation between education- and social reform in the European states, e.g., modernization and secularization, and the influence of migration on welfare state development historically and at present. A PhD in theological history, Mett’s scholarship focuses on the history of the school, particularly welfare state reforms, integration, Greenland and muslin students, and Lutheranism as a State Culture in educational practices.

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