Sammanfattning: Abstract This dissertation examines the educational situation from a social psychological perspective. The study is based on an empirical material from two school classes at a Swedish high school. The data have been collected through video documentation and direct observation. A number of brief episodes have been transcribed in detail, and are interpreted and analyzed in the light of interactionist theory, chiefly using as a basis Thomas J. Scheff’s theory of social bonds. The analysis concentrates on the relation between the smallest parts of communication (words and gestures) and interpersonal relations. Non-verbal communication is understood as a main source of emotional experiences. The general aim is to conceptualize the significance of the classroom microworld for the social life of the class. The study is directed towards understanding the unexpressed, implicit messages concealed in the classroom communication. When studying the imbedded, largely unconscious, almost invisible and perhaps also suppressed processes in teaching, the researcher may come close to the essence of the activity. The study shows that Scheff´s theory is useful for understanding classroom activity. It shows the significant role that social bonds, nonverbal communication and emotions play in the teaching situation. A general thesis that follows from the study is that messages of shame and pride are commonly denied in the teacher-student relation. The exploration of the microworld elucidates the notion that productive teaching is characterized by stable social bonds, differentiation between individuals, and by a social life where neither shame nor pride is suppressed. The question of why teachers and students conform to social norms is discussed, and the answer is formulated in terms of the deference-emotion-system (Scheff). Although the dissertation in great parts follows and gives strengh to Scheffs perspective, certain critical remarks are made on the foundations of Scheffs theory. A general idea in the dissertation is that insight into the classroom microworld is of decisive importance for understanding the process of socialization in school. It is moreover proposed that studies of the microworld could be a basis for developing what the author labels a relation-conscious education.
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