Konsten att producera lärande demokrater

Sammanfattning: This dissertation builds on the basic question of how individuals are formed and created as citizens in society today, and how individuals construct themselves as citizens in this society. It takes interest in how they are managed to govern themselves through specific constructions of citizenship, and looks at how the exercise of power establishes certain knowledge that affects their view of themselves and generates truths about how they are expected to live their lives. Simultaneously, the dissertation deals with the concept of freedom: what does it mean in contemporary society, how can one be free today, and what dangers might this liberty involve?In a broad sense, the analysis centres on the relationship between education and society; more specifically, it engages with the Swedish education system and its construction and production of desirable citizen subjects. The concrete example deals with the institution called leisure-time centre, with a purpose to investigate and problematise how institutionalised leisure-time is staged and legitimised in Sweden today. The studies take as a common starting point the following research question: how are children and personnel governed discursively in and through leisure-time centres?The first empirical contribution provides historical context for the study. In this, the `problematic leisure-time´ of today is outlined based on education policy documents relevant for children aged 6–13 years. These texts are discussed together with similar texts gathered from two other periods in history in order to give perspective on aspects of the leisure-time centre that may seem obvious in our own time.The first separate article investigates how talk about activities in leisure-time centres is couched in terms of meaningfulness and consists of an analysis of the ideological tension between democracy and authority, which the governmental authority, the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen), must address in its discursive work. The second article explores how the production of systematic reporting and documentation by personnel in leisure-time centres works through specific self-technologies in the form of confessional practices and which can be said to be primarily about constructing a free but loyal collective subject.The third article problematises the use of democracy as a method to produce specific citizen subjects in leisure-time centres. Children’s councils are analysed, focusing on how different nuances of influence are staged discursively by participating children and personnel. The article highlights how democracy – through pastoral care and in the name of children’s influence – becomes a governmentalising technology that produces an active, responsible and learning citizen.In summary, this dissertation highlights how leisure-time centres are staged and legitimised in Sweden today. The analysis shows how an administration of children and control of the development of society through the autonomous, competent, and voluntarily active individual is apparent; power operates through a perceived freedom in a way that makes the free choice the `right´ choice. With political ideas about forming a forward-looking mentality, children – and personnel – are constructed as a project of learning and improvement.

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