Making exclusionary processes in schools visible

Gro Emmertsen Lund

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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This dissertation questions whether or not our traditions of dealing with interactive troubles in schools are continuing to serve us well. This is a study of how exclusionary processes evolve as a result of dealing with interactive troubles, whereby all kinds of families may be eventually excluded from schools. The study begins by outlining the problem of inclusion in general and providing an overview of the Danish school context specifically. Further, it explores the kinds of thinking and communication micro-processes that school professionals use with students and parents, and focuses on how certain kinds of interactions produce and reproduce deficit-positions. Thus, it aims to go beyond traditional reproduction theory and make visible the micro-processes in interactions that marginalize, stigmatize and mute voices otherwise entitled to speak.
Through analyzing eight short stories of exclusionary processes, six steps in an exclusionary spiral are identified. Findings suggest that problem-, individual- and deficit- based conversations create exclusionary processes from interactive troubles. These conversations are developed within the general philosophical framework of modernist thought and especially within deficit discourse, and can lead to middle class families being excluded from schools. Basic assumptions of the problem-solving method are identified and these foundational concepts are critiqued by pointing to the negative constitutive effects they have on relationships and options for action. Further, they fail to take account of the moral purpose of schooling, if we think of this purpose as creating the conditions for the becoming somebody of students. The analysis avoids constructing people as determined within discourse and supports a conceptualization of personal agency as achieved through response to how a student or a family is positioned. Thereby it establishes claims for relational, resource and resolution thinking as practices that address the problems of interactive troubles instead of blaming individuals. The analysis of what could be different makes further visible the problems found in current practices, and enables a theoretically robust account to be given of an alternative practice.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Wilderom, Celeste P.M., Supervisor
  • Winslade, J., Supervisor, External person
Award date10 Nov 2017
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-4418-4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


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