When: Thursday, May 9, 2019 | 02:00 pm – 04:00 pm
Where: Ponderosa Commons, Room 2012, 6445 University Boulevard
The Norwegian national imaginary represents the country as a global do-gooder and champion of sustainability, aid, and democracy. This imaginary has served well to market the image of Norway as exceptional both nationally and internationally (Eriksen, 2018). This exceptionalist imaginary is also deeply embedded within the Norwegian educational system and manifests in the production of knowledge and social identities. Norwegian education is currently going through a large national curriculum reform, where democracy and citizenship, sustainable development, and life skills are set out to be the three core concerns permeating all education. However, in spite of bold policy ambitions, Norwegian educational institutions continue to construct structures of inequality that reproduce racism, colonialism, and epistemic violence as well as unsustainable capitalist economic structures. In this presentation, I apply post- and decolonial perspectives to shed light on the knowledge production and educational narratives that dominate the Norwegian primary school context. Through examples derived from three different papers, I show how the tenacious ideological construction of Nordic Exceptionalism (Loftsdottir & Jensen, 2012) as it appears in social studies education may obstruct the critical literacies the educational system allegedly is aiming to foster. Exceptionalist narratives may effectively absolve educational institutions of their ethical and pedagogical responsibilities to disrupt unjust and unsustainable social relations (Stein, 2018), and stand in the way of possibilities for imagining or doing education otherwise.
Bio: Kristin Gregers Eriksen is a PhD Research Fellow and lecturer in Social Studies teacher education at the University of South-Eastern Norway in Drammen. Her current research is focused on narratives about Norwegian exceptionalism and citizenship in primary school education. Her research and teaching interests include post- and decolonial perspectives on education, Indigenous philosophies, affect theory and education for sustainable development