Juridifiering som demokratiseringsprocess? : Fallet likabehandling i svensk skola

Sammanfattning: The relationship between education and democracy has long attracted political interest. This thesis takes an interest in the political initiative to democratize education through legal means. This initiative is viewed as a wider national and global societal phenomenon. More precisely the thesis aims at developing knowledge on juridification as a process of democratization in education, by studying the Swedish case of equal treatment in school. Through the introduction of the Child and School Student Protection Act (SFS 2006:67) in 2006, discrimination and degrading treatment were prohibited and new legal accountability measures were introduced. Theoretically, juridification is treated as a multidimensional concept, encompassing different empirical processes of shifts towards law (Blichner & Molander, 2008; Brännström, 2009). Juridification as a process of democratization is approached as a multifaceted phenomenon involving potentially both desirable and undesirable consequences (Habermas, 1987; Teubner, 1987). This complexity also justifies the use of a plurality of perspectives and approaches in the thesis. Through and abductive research process (Peirce, 1931; Andersson & Balldin, 2022) the aim is explored through three sub-studies, using critical policy analysis (Bacchi & Goodwin, 2016), abduction (Schwartz-Shea & Yanow, 2012) and an educational philosophical approach (Smith, 2010).  The results show how the Child and School Student Protection Act was made possible through an active political practice in which EU-directives on discrimination influenced Swedish education policy. The thesis illustrates a paradox (Brown, 2000) inherent in specifying legal discrimination grounds in the legislation. Furthermore, the thesis proposes a conceptual framework based on six dimensions of juridification, together with an overall understanding of juridification of and in education. This multidimensional concept contributes to an understanding of how different processes are interrelated, which illustrates the complexity and width of the phenomenon of juridification as democratization. Another important contribution is a theoretical illustration of how juridification can enable certain democratic values ​​and processes in school practice at the expense of others, jeopardizing its intended goal.In the discussion I argue that the new legislation can be understood as part of a broader shift towards a juridified liberal democratic tradition and that the juridification of education should be perceived as a new shift in Swedish educational policy. Overall, the thesis contributes insights into the ways in which juridification may enable and hinder democratization, depending on how law is done. Consequently, it contributes to thinking both with and against – as well as beyond – juridification as a process of democratization in school and society.