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People’s high schools in Scandinavia: a contribution to democracy?

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In times of global influence, compulsory education in the Nordic countries has promoted democracy as choice since the 1990s, as enhancing an individual good. Supporting education for democracy is a matter that concerns the world and society on the topic of ‘what shall he do? Shall he act for this or that end?’. This indicates that democratic education is not only a matter of individual good, but a public, regarding who I want to be, how I would like to respond towards both the world and society. As for public good, who I want to be involves having the freedom to act in the world that lies between us. The article explores Nordic tradition of people’s high school, which is known to enhance the enlightenment of the people and to support democracy as a public good. Focus group interviews with folk high school students in Norway were carried out. To theoretically interpret the findings, theories on freedom and action were used. Arendt’s theories contribute to the results by offering ways to theoretically comprehend students’ experiences of being seen and heard during their school years. The study asks to what extent, if any, people’s high schools in Norway contribute to and/or challenge education and democracy in today’s society.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Programme for Teacher Education, Social Sciences and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

Publication date: 2013-11-01

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