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Neo-liberalism and universal state education: the cases of Denmark, Norway and Sweden 1980–2011

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This article investigates neo-liberal policy on education in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Traditionally, the edifice of the education system in these Scandinavian countries has been built on egalitarian values, but over the last 20 years they have increasingly adopted market-led reforms of education. The extent of neo-liberal policy varies between the countries. Denmark and Norway have remained more hostile toward such policies, thus protecting the education system from extensive deregulation and privatisation. Conversely, in Sweden a greater credence has been given to market forces, allowing private providers to play a much more significant role in delivering education services. This variation in neo-liberal policy on education in Scandinavia is usually ascribed to the increasing power of the Right. However, this article differs from most other education research in that it argues, on the contrary, that the answer is to be found mainly within the social democratic parties themselves.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Lifelong and Comparative Education, Institute of Education, University of London, UK

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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