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Emotioner och värdegrundsarbete: Om lärare, fostran och elever i en mångkulturell skola


David Lifmark


Professor Karin Sporre, Professor Lars Petterson


Professor Bernt Gustavsson

Disputerat vid

Umeå universitet



Titel (se)

Emotioner och värdegrundsarbete: Om lärare, fostran och elever i en mångkulturell skola

Titel (eng)

Emotions and values education: On teachers, ethics and pupils in a multicultural school


Institutionen för estetiska ämnen i lärarutbildningen

Emotions and values education: On teachers, ethics and pupils in a multicultural school

This thesis explores aspects of teachers obligation to implement and discuss what are referred to in the Swedish national school curricula as fundamental values ( värdegrunden in Swedish). The aim is to describe and analyze dilemmas in interpretations of and teachers work with these fundamental values. Four questions are related to this aim. The first addresses difficulties discussed in conversations between seven upper secondary teachers, during nine meetings over the course of one year. In these conversations the teachers reflected upon how to interpret the fundamental values in relation to their daily practice. The second question focuses on the considerable diversity of Swedish schools and examines the work of the teachers through a perspective of intersectionality. The third question concerns how Martha Nussbaum s theory of emotions as judgments of value could be used for an understanding of the identified dilemmas. The fourth question focuses on ways in which the participating teachers discussions may contribute to a wider discussion about possible aims and circumstances of teachers work with the fundamental values. Chapter 2 introduces the theoretical framework of the study, Martha Nussbaum s (2001) ethical thinking on emotions as judgments of value. She argues that emotions have four common cognitive components. They have (1) external objects, and are directed towards these objects. They are (2) intentional, reflecting a person s particular point of view, his or her special way of beholding the object, and (3) consist of judgments, i.e. views of how things in the world are. According to Nussbaum s Aristotelian ethics, emotions also (4) mirror the individual s vision of what a good human life is like, and the vulnerability of it. The concept of eudaimonia, a fulfilled or flourishing life, is central. Chapter 3 focuses on ideas of ethnicity, and on the specific obligation mentioned in the curriculum of counteracting xenophobia and intolerance in a multicultural society. Chapter 4 discusses various aspects of the teachers thoughts on religiosity within Swedish society (often depicted as one of most secular in the world) and within the educational system that is non-denominational. Chapter 5 draws attention to different ways in which the teachers view and teach pupils about sexual orientation. Chapter 6 presents conclusions on potential advantages of and challenges involved in Nussbaum s Aristotelian theory of emotions, when applied to teachers views of and practical work with the fundamental values described in the curriculum. One advantage is that emotions may be intellectually scrutinized and morally assessed, on grounds that are known beforehand and discussed in a democratic process. The non-productive division between emotions, on the one hand, and intellectual and moral capabilities, on the other, is transcended by Nussbaum s theory. An important challenge is to reflect upon when to discuss the cognitive content of pupils emotions, and when it is appropriate to state what is right or wrong, and try to influence pupils accordingly.

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