Föräldrar och skola
Sammanfattning: The overall aim of this thesis is to develop a typology of the relationship between parents and schools by clarifying different meanings of that relationship. The study is anchored in a tradition within the sociology of knowledge which stresses the ongoing interpretative struggle between different social groups (Mannheim 1928/1968). Based on this theoretical approach, and in the light of international research, four models of the parent–school relationship are developed. Each model is related to an overall system of meaning, thereby clarifying competing conceptualizations of central concepts such as “parent” and “involvement”.The partnership model (1) stresses that it is in the children’s best educational interests to encourage cooperation between parents and schools. I argue that this model was originally based on the concept of equality, but that this concept was replaced in the 1980s by those of efficiency and learning.The user participation model (2) entails formal involvement of parents in the governance of individual schools. Participatory democracy, I argue, is one component in an overall system of meaning for this model. The other is efficiency, a concept that is related to changes in school governing bodies and school management during the 1980s.The choice model (3) emphasizes the rights of parents to choose among schools for the sake of their own children. Despite different interpretations of what choice entails, I argue that this model of the parent–school relationship can be related to an overall system of meaning in which the autonomous civil citizen is in focus.The separation model (4) takes as its starting point the differences between parents (home) and teachers (school) and problematizes the endeavour to achieve cooperation between the two. I argue that one component in the overall system of meaning associated with this model could be termed constitutive differences, a component that is also embedded in the concept of teacher professionalism. Two other components of the separation model are equality and integrity, the latter from the vantage point of children and young people.The thesis also analyses the parent–school relationship in the Swedish historical context, using the four models and the concepts mentioned above as analytical tools. In the first period, beginning with the reports of the 1940 School Committee and the 1946 School Commission, the focus was on the partnership model and the separation model. The user participation model was introduced in connection with a proposal to establish local governing bodies in the mid-1970s, and the choice model emerged, in the Swedish context, in the early 1990s.
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