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. (2016) [PDF]

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.