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Åkerblom, Erika
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Åkerblom, E. (2019). Discourses of lifelong learning: health as a governing technique in the shaping of the Swedish population. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 38(3), 287-300
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Discourses of lifelong learning: health as a governing technique in the shaping of the Swedish population
2019 (English)In: International Journal of Lifelong Education, ISSN 0260-1370, E-ISSN 1464-519X, Vol. 38, no 3, p. 287-300Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article focus on how the Swedish population is shaped into desirable citizens as resources for the nation’s prosperity. The aim is to analyse how health operates as a governing technique in discourses of lifelong learning. Within such current discourses the population is today described as generally well-educated and healthy, but not educated or healthy enough. When constructed as being in need of enhancement, measures of learning are suggested for regulating certain groups of the population into becoming what is regarded as desirable. Making use of Foucault’s notions of governmentality and genealogy, white and green papers from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs from 1930s and today (2017) are analysed. The analysis shows that although the population is described as having different problems originating from ignorance, the solutions that are suggested in the different time periods are basically the same. The relation between learning and health is described in different ways in the 1930s and the present. In the 1930s learning is explained merely as a means to achieve a healthy population while in the present health is described both as a prerequisite and as an effect of learning. Further, there is also a difference in how the governing is conducted. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019
Keywords
education, genealogy, Governmentality, health, lifelong learning
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-27657 (URN)10.1080/02601370.2019.1592252 (DOI)2-s2.0-85063249833 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-08-16 Created: 2018-08-16 Last updated: 2019-08-27Bibliographically approved
Åkerblom, E. (2019). Governing of the nation: Generation Pep as a biopolitical strategy. Sport, Education and Society, 1-12
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Governing of the nation: Generation Pep as a biopolitical strategy
2019 (English)In: Sport, Education and Society, ISSN 1357-3322, E-ISSN 1470-1243, p. 1-12Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This article explores how the well-being of the Swedish population has become a joint responsibility in the mission to shape desirable and proper citizens. This is done by studying an organisation called Generation Pep (GEN-PEP), which was established as a measure to foster a well-functioning population both now and in the future. The article draws on a post-structural and discursive theorisation inspired by the work of Michel Foucault and his concept of governmentality, with the specific aims of studying how GEN-PEP functions as a biopolitical strategy aimed at fostering a desirable population and identifying governing techniques mobilised within and through the project. The population is described as having failed to function well and that this should be remedied by creating measures that are indirectly aimed at children as future useful citizens. The measures are legitimised by highlighting the population’s ill-health. As a result of ‘experts’ and national role models telling these truths, the governing reflects the idea that a power similar to sovereign power needs to be re-established, where e.g. philanthropists contribute to and enable the project’s strategies and measures. The measures taken are described as a mutual responsibility, with parents being made especially responsible for correcting faults in accordance with the suggested solutions. GEN-PEP functions as a biopolitical strategy in which corporations, philanthropists and celebrities are encouraged to work together to improve the well-being of the nation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2019
Keywords
Governmentality, biopolitics, philanthropy, health, education, parents
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-30760 (URN)10.1080/13573322.2019.1664449 (DOI)000485469400001 ()2-s2.0-85073945237 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-10-09 Created: 2019-10-09 Last updated: 2019-11-05Bibliographically approved
Åkerblom, E. (2019). The will to include - education for becoming a desirable citizen. Pedagogy, Culture & Society
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The will to include - education for becoming a desirable citizen
2019 (English)In: Pedagogy, Culture & Society, ISSN 1468-1366, E-ISSN 1747-5104Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Contemporary understandings about the importance of a ‘desirable population’ have become intimately related to the pursuit of education and lifelong learning. In order to enable this, higher education operates as a technology for shaping desirable citizens. This paper focuses on a project in Sweden that aimed to include students with intellectual disabilities in higher education. Drawing on Foucault’s notion on governmentality and subjectivity, the analytical focus is on which kinds of subjects are created in and emerge from the project’s policy documents. The prospective students emerge as different and in need of special measures and are assigned particular knowledge that creates expectations and opportunities for them to regulate and foster themselves as desirable subjects in spaces where governing techniques such as surveillance and confession operate. Rather than including these students, the measures instead lead to further exclusion by creating, manifesting and reproducing the otherness it was supposed to counteract.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2019
Keywords
Education, lifelong learning, health, inclusion, citizenship
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-27658 (URN)10.1080/14681366.2019.1643400 (DOI)2-s2.0-85069056020 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-08-16 Created: 2018-08-16 Last updated: 2019-08-27Bibliographically approved
Åkerblom, E. & Fejes, A. (2017). Constructing a healthy, knowledgeable and well-educated citizen: motivational interviews and physical activity on prescription. Studies in Continuing Education, 39(3), 320-332
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Constructing a healthy, knowledgeable and well-educated citizen: motivational interviews and physical activity on prescription
2017 (English)In: Studies in Continuing Education, ISSN 0158-037X, E-ISSN 1470-126X, Vol. 39, no 3, p. 320-332Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In recent decades education has been suggested as an important solution to current problems of the population?s health. A high level of education in general is construed as essential for the nation?s well-being and competitiveness. In this article we problematise the ways in which discourses on education, learning and health have become interlinked. Drawing on a post-structural theorisation inspired by Michel Foucault, we analyse Swedish policy documents on education and public health and direct our attention to how the healthy citizen is shaped and fostered. We illustrate how the healthy citizen emerges in opposition to the non-healthy, non-desirable and abnormal citizen. Citizens are made responsible for identifying their deficits and suggesting solutions. Governing techniques, such as motivational interviews and physical activity on prescription, operates in order to shape such citizens. Through these techniques, a confessional relation emerges, where citizens are invited to disclose their deficits and problems and in so doing shape themselves in a desired way.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2017
Keywords
Adult education, health, motivational interviews, physical activity on prescription, governmentality
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-24647 (URN)10.1080/0158037X.2017.1334641 (DOI)000410888200006 ()2-s2.0-85020748184 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-07-03 Created: 2017-07-03 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Åkerblom, E., Florin, K. & Hedlund, E. (2017). The desirable University in a Knowledge Economy society. In: : . Paper presented at The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER2017), 21-25 August 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The desirable University in a Knowledge Economy society
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The picture of contemporary societies in the political discussions is basically stories about a globalized knowledge-based economy market that nations in one way or another has to relate to. In a Swedish context Higher Education Institutions (HEI) appears as a guarantee for Sweden's opportunities on that market. As an insurance and as an answer to societies need to control HEI a changed quality system is discussed in Government Communication 2015/16:76. In that text internal quality assurance and external control appears as a necessity as well as associations with networks like OECD, EC, EUA, EQAF, EURASHE, BFUG, and ENQA and so on. In that framework each university is assigned as responsible (Government Communication 2015/16: 76; Education report 2015/16: UbU9) for its own internal quality assurance. The aim of this article is to visualize implicit control mechanisms that may appear in the new internal quality assurance system and in that the construction of the desirable university as they occur in Bill 2015/16:76 and Report 2016:15.

Six years earlier a Bill 2009/10:149, the so-called Bill of freedom, pronounced an ambition to give HEI a higher degree of freedom. In that Bill the government emphasizes the importance of coordination and cooperation regarding internal organization within HEI nationally and internationally. At the same time the government decided to implement a new quality assurance system according to Bill 2009/10:149. In short, Bill 2009/10:149 resulted in that Sweden’s quality assurance system was questioned by ENQA and caused the exclusion of membership. As a consequence of that a new quality assurance system was implemented (Bill 2015/16:76; Report 2016:15). One of the main purposes with the new quality system was that Sweden once again should become a full member of ENQA. Requirements for coordinated internal organizations in accordance with Bill 2009/10:149 and the need of the network and Sweden’s desire to belong to the ENQA create and display the paths possible for universities to choose. In that context we have chosen to analyze two texts, Report UKÄ[1] 2016:15 and Government Bill 2015/16:76 with purpose to visualize implicit control mechanisms that may appear in the new internal quality assurance system.

Method

Quality assurance system can be seen as a disciplinary technology with a purpose to control activities, actions and organizations (Foucault, 2003b). In this article we draw on Foucault’s concepts governmentality and discourse analysis to visualize implicit governance and the construction of desirable university (Foucault, 2003a, 2006). Freedom can be seen as an expression of power and is based on making the right choices according to what’s produced as desirable (Foucault, 1982; Rose, 1999). Disciplinary power is characterised by the normalising system of punishment and reward (Foucault, 1980, 1983). We will problematize the constructed need of quality assurance and the desire to belong to networks and what this may be a response to. Network is seen as desirable and cooperation and coordination is portrayed as a prerequisite for national HEI in a globalized knowledge-based economy market. Larsson (2015) argues that “Meta-governance of network should thus be understood as type of governance directed towards organizations that participates in network which the meta-governors tries to control at a distance without shattering their formally autonomous character” (pp 174). Our starting point is that policies are an expression and a part of current discourse, i.e. manifestations which are made possible in and through discourses, in this case by the construction of the desirable university.

Expected outcome

Changes in policies regarding the governing of HEI are powered by a tangle of wires of national, international and supranational governing mechanism. A contribution to current discussions regarding governing of HEI and autonomy could be that our research shows that implicit control mechanisms could contribute to uniformity through meta-governance as a way to provide conduct of conduct of organizations that take part in networks. Network is described as desirable since they can offer a connection between the state and the civil society. Disciplinary power shows itself in the identification of problems, in that, quality assurance system is a way to create and display the paths possible for universities to choose and to discern the undesirable. Another possible contribution may be the identification of the desirable university in the discourse of the role that HEI has in a society constructed as being on a globalized knowledge-based economy market.

References

Foucault, M. (1980) Prison talk. In C. Gordon, red. Power/Knowledge. Selected interviews & other writings 1972-1977, s 37-54. New York: Pantheon

Foucault, M. (1982). The subject and power. In J. D. Faubion. (eds.). Essential Works of Foucault 1954-84, vol 3, s 326-348. London: Penguin Books

Foucault, M. (1983). The Subject and Power. Afterword. In H. L, Dreyfus & P. Rabinow. (eds). Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press

Foucault, M. (2003a). Regementalitet i Fronesis Lag och ordning 14-15 Göteborg: Tidskrift föreningen Fronesis.

Foucault, M. (2003b). Övervakning och straff: fängelsets födelse. (4., översedda uppl.) Lund: Arkiv.

Foucault, M. (2006). Biopolitikens födelse i Wennerhag, M & Unsgaard (red.) (2006) Fronesis Liberalism 22-23 Göteborg: Tidsskriftsföreningen Fronesis

Larsson, O. (2015). The governmentality of meta-governance: identifying theoretical and empirical challenges of network governance in the political field of security and beyond. Diss. Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2015. Uppsala.

Proposition 2009/10:149 En akademi i tiden – ökad frihet för universitet och högskolor. Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartementet

Rapport 2016:15. Nationellt system för kvalitetssäkring av högre utbildning. Redovisning av ett regeringsuppdrag. Stockholm: Universitetskanslerämbetet

Regeringens skrivelse 2015/16:76. Kvalitetssäkring av högre utbildning. Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartementet

Rose, N. (1999) Powers of Freedom: reframing political thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Utbildningsutskottets betänkande 2015/16: UbU9. Kvalitetssäkring av högre utbildning. Stockholm: Utbildningsutskottet

[1] The Swedish Higher Education Authority (Universitetskanslerämbetet, UKÄ). UKÄ has been given a mandate to develop and implement a new national system of quality assurance of higher education.

Keywords
Quality assurance, Higher education, education policy, governmentality
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25167 (URN)
Conference
The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER2017), 21-25 August 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark
Available from: 2017-09-06 Created: 2017-09-06 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Åkerblom, E. & Fejes, A. (2016). Constructing the healthy citizen. In: NERA 2016 Social Justice, Equality and Solidarity in Education: Book of abstracts. Paper presented at NERA 2016, NERA 44th Congress, 9-11 March 2016, Helsinki, Finland (pp. 234-234).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Constructing the healthy citizen
2016 (English)In: NERA 2016 Social Justice, Equality and Solidarity in Education: Book of abstracts, 2016, p. 234-234Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Lifelong learning is promoted as a means to solve a range of problems in contemporary society, with the aim of Sweden being the most knowledge intense society in the globalised world. In order to realise such society, citizens need to be active, employed and competitive on the labour market. (bill. 2001/02:1). A central topic emerging the last decade, construed as central in order for Sweden to be in the forefront in the world, is health. Citizens need to become and stay healthy. This paper directs interest at how such discourse on learning and health emerge and is shaped in current policy making on education and public health. What healthy citizen is being shaped, with what capabilities and how is such a citizens being shaped and fostered?

The paper draws on a poststructural discourse analysis, inspired by the work of Michel Foucault (1991, 2003, 2006) and his concepts governmentality and technologies of the self. In such perspective, power and governing are practices that shapes, leads and influence the way people behave and act. A governmentality perspective makes visible in what ways, and with what techniques, such shaping plays out, constructing a self-regulating citizen.

Analysing green and white papers on learning and public health, we illustrate what healthy subject is being shaped and fostered, and through what techniques. By doing so, we contribute to existing governmentality analyses, which only, to a limited extent, has focused on the intersection of learning and health.

National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-21320 (URN)
Conference
NERA 2016, NERA 44th Congress, 9-11 March 2016, Helsinki, Finland
Available from: 2016-03-16 Created: 2016-03-16 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Florin, K., Hedlund, E. & Åkerblom, E. (2015). Differentiation And Access to Higher Education. In: : . Paper presented at ECER 2015 "Education and Transition. Contributions from Educational Research", Budapest, Hungary, September 7-11 2015.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Differentiation And Access to Higher Education
2015 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Differentiation And Access To Higher Education

Education can be used to create a transition from one status to another, a way to create opportunities for citizens and societies. In this paper our focus is on groups that are created for one reason or another as a burden. There are people in society who are regarded as an expense and something that must be taken care of. A collection of individuals that despite large individual variations are lumped together under a common concept - the group with intellectual disabilities. This group has traditionally been prevented from attend to higher education for many reasons. The most obvious is the notion of an inability to assimilate and utilize higher education although it is generally accepted that there is a large span regarding intellectual capacity in this constructed homogenous group. If we instead choose to view human as beings where intellectuals variations is a rule rather than an exception the obvious question should be: how do we find the fundamental values and sufficient funds to make education a form of transition to best serve all people in a community? Instead the educational systems are created in accordance to current discourses and notions about human beings capacity and abilities that means that the system automatically includes and excludes. The educational system in that sense is a practice, an act in which discursive power is staged (Beronius, M. 1986, Olsson, U. 1997). In Sweden the current educational system does not give pupils diagnosed with intellectual disabilities access to higher education. In a previous paper Florin, K., Hedlund, E. and Akerblom, E. (2014), studied subjects' constructions in a project at the University of Gävle. The project was an experiment in which 14 individuals diagnosed as persons with intellectual disabilities were given the possibility of a three-year education at the University. The project is now depleted and a final report is published. The term “project” itself shows that the education was a test or a trial and not something that initially was assumed to be given in higher education. In this paper our aim is through a discourse analysis study if and how the construction of “the other” legitimize the existent of the project.

Method

Methodologically the contribution is based on discourse analysis (Foucault, M. 2003; Foucault, M. 2006). We are interested in how the construction of “the other” legitimizes the existence of the above mentioned project. By using discourse analysis it is possible to visualize the power in words and language and how it is staged in practices (Foucault, M. 1993, 1971). The focus here is not on what the words mean, but what they do (Derrida, J. 1998; Foucault, M. 1993, 1971). Our starting point is that policy bills are an expression and a part of current discourse, that is, manifestations which are made possible in and through discourses, in this case by the construction and the notion of "the other". (Hajer, M.A., 1995; Arts, B. & Van Tatenhove, J., 2005)

Expected Outcomes

One expected outcome is that the constructions of the student in the project both legitimize the start and closure of the project. These students are constructed as being beyond what already is portrayed as "the other" e.g. students with dyslexia, cerebral pares, visual impairment, etc. The discourse does not allow the idea that people with intellectual disabilities are a natural part of higher education. Changes in education policy are a dynamic process in a context of interaction between agents and ideas, and in this, a number of problems, solutions and efforts are suggested. A contribution could be to see how different agents create the conditions in the current context that allows or prevents transitions in higher education. Another contribution could be to initiate a discussion about fundamental values and sufficient funds to make education a form of transition to best serve all people in a community.

References

Arts, B. & Van Tatenhove, J., (2004) Policy and power: A conceptual framework between the old and the ´new´ policy idioms. Policy Science (2004), 37:339-356. Beronius, M. (1986). Den disciplinära maktens organisering- Om makt och arbetsorganisation. Lund: Arkiv avhandlingsserie 23.  Derrida, J. (1998). Of grammatology. (Corrected ed). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Florin, K., Hedlund, E.& Åkerblom, E. (2014). Life long learning for all. (ed.) İbrahim Yalin. International conference on interdisciplinary research in education: New trends in interdisciplinary education. Milano: Icoine. Foucault, M. (1993, 1971). Diskursens ordning Installationsföreläsning vid College De France Översättning Rosengren, M. Stockholm: Brutus Östlings Förlag Symposium, Originalets titel: L’ordre du discours. Foucault, M. (2003). Regementalitet i Fronesis Lag och ordning 14-15 Göteborg: Tidskrift föreningen Fronesis. Foucault, M. (2006). Biopolitikens födelse i Wennerhag, M & Unsgaard (red.) (2006) Fronesis Liberalism  22-23 Göteborg: Tidsskriftsföreningen Fronesis Hajer, M.A., (1995). The politics of Environmental Ddiscourse: Ecological modernization and a Policy Process. Oxford: Oxford university press. Hälsoinspiratörsprojektet (2014) Utveckling av högskoleutbildning för studenter med utvecklingsstörning 2011-1014. Gävle: Institutet för inkludering och optimalt lärande samt Nationella samverkansgruppen för livslångt lärande och arbete för personer med utvecklingsstörning. Olsson, U. (1997). Folkhälsa som pedagogiskt projekt: bilden av hälsoupplysning i statens offentliga utredningar. Uppsala:Uppsala Studies in Education No 72.

Keywords
differentation, discourse, intellectual disabilities, higher education
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20269 (URN)
Conference
ECER 2015 "Education and Transition. Contributions from Educational Research", Budapest, Hungary, September 7-11 2015
Available from: 2015-09-14 Created: 2015-09-14 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Florin, K., Åkerblom, E. & Hedlund, E. (2014). Lifelong learning for all?. In: İbrahim Yalin (Ed.), International conference on interdisciplinary research in education: New trends in interdisciplinary education. Paper presented at ICOINE 2014 : 3rd International Conference on Interdisciplinary Research in Education, 29-31 October 2014, Milano, Italy.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lifelong learning for all?
2014 (English)In: International conference on interdisciplinary research in education: New trends in interdisciplinary education / [ed] İbrahim Yalin, 2014Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper is a story about lifelong learning in a Swedish context. The need for lifelong learning is a recurring issue in the political discussions and media reporting. According to Delors (1996), lifelong learning is a prerequisite for modern society. A common way to discuss lifelong learning is to make a difference between formal, informal and non-formal learning. According to Dunn (2003), non-formal learning is about skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors that people acquire in their daily lives. We on the other hand believe that all kinds of learning always include the above concepts and that the discussion of lifelong learning is about creating certain subject. Our aim is to visualize desirable subjects through discourse analyze (Foucault,1980). The empirical material consists of curricula and syllabi for a project at the University of Gävle in which individuals with intellectual disabilities are offered education at post-secondary level.

Keywords
construction of subjects, lifelong learning, intellectual disabilities, discourse
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-17963 (URN)
Conference
ICOINE 2014 : 3rd International Conference on Interdisciplinary Research in Education, 29-31 October 2014, Milano, Italy
Available from: 2014-11-13 Created: 2014-11-13 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
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