Padovan-Özdemir, Marta. The Making of Educationally Manageable Immigrant Schoolchildren in Denmark,1970–2013A Critical Prism for Studying the Fabrication of a Danish Welfare Nation State. Dissertation. University of Copenhagen, 2016,
Ever since children of non-Western labour immigrants appeared in Danish public schools in the early 1970s, immigrant schoolchildren have attracted considerable educational attention from politicians, administrators, teachers, experts, and researchers. This attention has often been voiced as a concern for these children’s individual welfare, but also for the collective welfare of Danish society. With the objective of unravelling this educational attention, the thesis asks how were immigrant schoolchildren made educationally manageable in Danish public schools between 1970 and 2013. To offer a critical exploration of these high-stakes educational practices addressing immigrant schoolchildren and their families, the thesis also inquires how these practices of educationalised governing have fed into fabricating a post-1970 Danish welfare nation state. The thesis explores these research questions from a critical, historical perspective on three distinct educational practices used to capture the manifold investments present in making immigrant schoolchildren educationally manageable. First, it describes administrative knowledge practices in which administrators, experts, and professionals have been involved in identifying the problem of and suggesting solutions for organising the welfare and the schooling of immigrant schoolchildren. Second, it studies teacher professionalisation practices whereby teachers, experts, and researchers have been involved in identifying educational problematisations of immigrant schoolchildren’s presence, based on which professional capacities, dispositions, and identities have been developed over time. Third, it examines didactical practices in which teachers, experts, researchers, textbook writers, journalists, publishing houses, nongovernmental organisations, and so forth have been involved in developing pedagogical repertoires of truths, techniques, and objectives for teachers to manage immigrant schoolchildren’s presence. These three educational practices have been investigated through their textual effects in the shape of commission reports, project evaluations, administrative procedures, professional journal articles, teacher handbooks, teacher guidelines, and so forth. Three corpora of historical material have been established based on the personal research archive of the late education researcher Jørgen Gimbel. This trove is supplemented with the personal, work-related archives of other professionals who have been active in the investigational field, annual reports of the Danish Royal School of Education (1970–2000), three professional journals that were specialised in the field of immigrant schoolchildren’s education (1980–2013), and a comprehensive public library search. The three corpora comprise 872 texts exhibiting the qualities of regulating, reflecting, and guiding educational practices addressing immigrant schoolchildren’s presence in Danish public schools between 1970 and 2013.The thesis constructs educational practices vis-à-vis immigrant schoolchildren as a critical prism for studying the emergence of a Danish welfare nation state. Qua an analytics of governing, the emergence of a Danish welfare nation state is constructed and studied as the effect of a variegated domain of practices engaged in the governing of individual and collective welfare as responses to the social question of integration. Thus, this thesis cultivates a profound questioning of problem-solving complexes arising in response to immigrant schoolchildren’s presence, as these problem-solving complexes have been involved in educationalising the social question of integration, and imagining a better society. As such, this thesis offers problematisations of immigrant schoolchildren’s education, showing how educationalised welfare work addressing non-Western immigrant children and their families functioned not only as a deeply rooted national(ist) project, but also equally as a racialising, civilising, modernising project of governing the social and doing good. Accordingly, the thesis demonstrates how revisiting the social question in a post-1970 context of educating immigrant schoolchildren disturbs the optimistic salvation project of publicly educating and integrating immigrants. The thesis shows how a post-1970 Danish welfare nation state can be understood as the effect of an inherently modernistic project of brutal care, subtly racialised professionalisation, and a civilising pedagogy placing immigrant schoolchildren on the threshold of a thesis of modern Danish life. The thesis has been prepared as a collection of two scientific journal articles and one lengthy contribution to an anthology, in which the thesis’s analytical findings are presented. In addition, it presents a chapter on the development of a positive form of critique, a thematised historiography of the cross-disciplinary research context informing this thesis, a brief reflection upon concepts lost and found in translation, an extended discussion on the writing of history and the methodological implications of an analytics of governing, and a final chapter discussing the thesis’s overall contribution to its research context.