Elevinflytandets många ansikten

Sammanfattning: With this dissertation, I wish to make a contribution to the public debate on education and democracy, with an emphasis on student influence and impact. Based on eight empirical investigations made during the 1990s, pictures of student impact, primarily on the teaching process, are presented. Expressions of both relatively widespread and more limited student impact emerge. Conditions for this impact cannot easily be ascribed to changes in work organization and work environment or to various groups' attitudes to student influence. However, these factors gain importance in relation to actors' conceptions of how new conditions can be utilized and to their preparedness to make use of them, seen from the perspective of how the reform work of increasing student influence is initiated and carried out.Based on data that could not be explained satisfactorily within the interpretative framework used in the eight investigations, two questions are lifted forward for further discussion. The research approach is set in relation to the abductive logic developed by Peirce. The first question deals with the relation between formal government regulation and student influence and the wider context in which this can be understood. It is found that student impact cannot always be taken for granted as good, and that various motivations for student influence need to be discussed in relation to each other and in relation to the other tasks of the school, as well as from historical and socio-economic perspectives. The second question is connected to the need to develop an alternative and wider understanding of student impact, instead of the one that has dominated studies of student influence and impact up to now. Using the concept of power and the theory that impact can manifest itself as both dominance and unity, the dissertation puts forth that students always have an impact and that the crucial question is whether or not this impact is in line with student interests. To find an answer, the use of a formative authentic interest concept is recommended as superior to the concepts of subjective and objective interests. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of the implications of understanding student impact in this way.

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