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Manuscript deadline
15 February 2021

Cover image - Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy

Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy

Special Issue Editor(s)

Jin Hui Li, Department of Culture and Learning, Aalborg University
[email protected]

Mantė Vertelytė, Department of Education Science, Aarhus University
[email protected]

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Public Education between Racialization and the Possibilities of Anti-racist Strategy in the Nordic States

Faced with accumulated migratory histories, the racialization of minoritized migrant and indigenous populations, and the mediatized moral panics over immigration and migrant communities, educational institutions are under pressure to find ways to respond. It is through education that nation-state discourses and policies for minority ‘integration/assimilation’ are recontextualized and pedagogized (Bernstein, 2003) and are lived through everyday schooling experience. Hence, it is also through schooling and education that racialized inequality structures are potentially challenged.

This special issue proposes to address racialization and anti-racist educational strategies in the ways they appear in Nordic public educational institutions as simultaneously evolving processes. We suggest that we cannot understand the processes of racialization without understanding the strategies and practices through which these processes are being contested and challenged. This happens when for instance racialized students resist their racialization by developing their own everyday anti-racist strategies, or when teachers are caught in dilemmas of addressing racism in the classroom at the expense of (un)disturbed classroom environments.

This special issue asks in what ways the processes of racialization play out in public primary and secondary education practices in the Nordic states, and in what ways these processes are being contested, challenged and responded to, both historically and contemporarily.

Over the past decades, there has been a growing scholarly interest in processes of racialization, whiteness and anti-racism in the Nordic countries (Hervik, 2019; Keskinen & Andreassen, 2017). Contrary to the dominating discourse of Nordic countries being culturally, religiously and racially homogeneous national communities, Nordic states have a long history of racial, ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, not least contested legacies of colonialism (Loftsdottir & Jensen, 2012). Scholars have pointed to ‘always-there’ indigenous communities (Keskinen, Touri, Irni, & Mulinari, 2009) and immigrations to the regions that date back way further than the contemporary waves of immigration (Schmidt, 2015). Yet, since approximately the late 1960s, immigration became the center of political attention and public discourse and since then, according to Mette Buchardt (Buchardt, 2017, p. 68), “migration was transformed into an educational problem.” And since the 1970s, education policies directed toward migrant children have been formulated across the Nordic countries (Borevi, 2014; Buchardt, 2018; Stokke, 2019).

Research in education in the Nordic states has approached educational institutions as part of the formation of the national welfare states, through which racialized subjectivities, identities, and visions of belonging to the nation are being produced (Moldenhawer & Øland, 2013; Buchardt & Ydesen, 2018; Harlap & Riese, 2014). Particularly, the emphasis has been on racialized student subjectivities (Khawaja, 2014; Lagermann, 2010; Staunæs, 2004) and the appearance of racialized categories such as ‘foreign language student’, ‘bilingual students’ (Gilliam, 2018), ‘multilingual students’, or the increasingly used and overlapping term “Muslim students” (Buchardt, 2016). In parallel, researchers have examined how the processes of racialization and structural inequalities can be dismantled through education. Critical pedagogies have been approached through the lens of ‘multicultural education’, ‘intercultural education’, or ‘migration pedagogies’ (Buchardt & Fabrin, 2012; Bjørnæs, Hauge, & Standnes, 1993). Yet, recently there has been more emphasis on particularly anti-racist education, which calls for decolonial (Eriksen & Svendsen, 2020) and intersectional approaches (Røthing & Svendsen, 2011) that recognize race as a crucial marker in Nordic public education systems at large.

Building on this knowledge, we invite papers to address Public Education between Racialization and the Possibilities of Anti-Racist Strategy through angles such as:

  • How have experiences of racialization through schooling been shaped historically and at present? For example, how did elementary schooling shape the lives of people with migratory histories when they arrived in the Nordic countries as children?
  • How do students, teachers, and school leaders contest processes of racialization?
  • Which role has been played by anti-racist strategies as the educational response in the context of the Nordic states?
  • What are the challenges for educators to practice critical racially literate pedagogies?
  • What kind of research has been done in the area of education and racism/anti-racism in the Nordic countries and what have we learned from it?
  • Which role has been played by anti-racist values in the curriculum, and what transformative contribution could anti-racist education have in times of climate change?
  • How do media representations contribute to processes of racialization through discourses about ‘good schooling’ as a means of integration?

We aim for a special issue that enables discussions of the topic racialization and anti-racist strategies in schooling that go across different disciplines. Therefore, we welcome contributions from different disciplines and theoretical and methodological approaches.

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Submission Instructions

The above list of topics is not exhaustive, and the editorial board will consider other topics related to the main themes of this special issue. The abstract (max 300 word) along with a brief biography should be sent to both guest editors: Jin Hui Li ([email protected]) and Mantė Vertelytė ([email protected]). The full paper (max 7000 word) should be submitted through ScholarOne. Select "Public Education between Racialization and the Possibilities of Anti-Racist Strategy in the Nordic States” when submitting your paper to ScholarOne.

Please contact the guest editors with any questions regarding the special issue prior to the deadline for submissions. All final papers will be subject to the usual blind reviewing processes.

Important dates

  • Deadline for abstracts: September 1 2020
  • Deadline for decision of acceptance of papers: October 1 2020
  • Deadline for manuscript submission: February 15 2021
  • Deadline for final versions, in case of accepted contributions: May 15 2021
  • Expected publication of the special issue edition: October 2021

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