There are several different regulating documents that are supposed to control Swedish schools in an anti-discriminating way, such as the Discrimination Act and policies for Equal Opportunities and Fair treatment, but discrimination of LGBTQ-students is still a part of school environments (Brottsförebyggande rådet, 2015). There has been a lot of research done that has tried to draw upon the daily struggles of these students within school environments in Sweden, my master thesis included (Johansson, 2015). In the middle of November 2015, Sweden obtained its first LGTBQ-certified upper secondary school, a kind of certification that has become more and more popular during the last decade in other types of organizations. It’s a 16 hour education spread throughout 1 year to withhold the certification, where the entire school staff is educated in anti-oppressive methods both through the organization of the school and the interaction with students (RFSL, 2015). Since this certification is a relatively new part of the discourse of anti-discrimination within school, I find it interesting to examine. I ask myself why we need this. Shouldn’t the current regulating documents be enough? Why do the schools feel the need to do it? What may the motif behind the certification be? Why now? The issue has been a school issue for a long time, the certification of other organizations has been done the last decade. The aim of this study is to elucidate and analyze the speech of LBGTQ-certifications of Swedish schools and also investigate its possible consequences. To attempt in straightening my question marks, I want to try to answer another set of questions, namely; i) How is the LGBTQ-certification expressed? ii) What meaning is given these certifications? and iii) What may the consequences be?
The approach to these questions will be a critical discourse analysis. Critical discourse analysis is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of discourse that views language as a form of social practice. Linguistic practice and social practice constitute one another and focus on investigating how societal power relations are established and reinforced through language use. The study object will be the anti-discriminating discourse with a focus on the speech of the LGBTQ-certifications, both the documents from the certifiers and the speech of the certified schools. Using Faircloughs (1992) model of critical discourse analysis, I want to elucidate and analyze the texts creating the certifications, the anti-discriminating discourse practices used through the certification and also try to problematize and discuss their possible consequences in the social practices within Swedish schools. The analysis will be conducted through concepts of performativity and nonperformativity which is aimed to show how repetition and a practice within discourses do or do not produce what they’re actually speaking of. When speech of for example anti-discrimination circulates within an institution it can create an illusion that the speech follows or is followed by action. Sometimes these speech acts may hide the fact that the speech, in this case “we are LGBT-certified”, doesn’t necessarily result in any action what so ever.
The discourse of LGBT-certification, as a part of the anti-discriminating discourse, is written and expressed through the framework of social justice and equality and equity for all. To be LGBT-certified is something that schools of Sweden is supposed to be proud over. The institutional speech act of “We’re LGBT-certified” though is something that could be suspected becoming a non-performative, expressed but not followed by action and therefore not handling the issues constituting the very existence of these certifications. However, it is fair to say that the certification will lead to some sort of action, since its’ supposed to give the staff of the school a new approach. If so, the action due to the certification is also interesting to explore. What possible consequences could this new approach lead to?
2016. 99-100 p.
NERA 2016, Nordic Educational Research Association, 44th Congress, 9-11 March 2016, Helsinki, Finland