The Question of Representation: Research in gender and education in Scandinavia

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This article gives a review of feminist research into gender, school and education in Scandinavia in the light of feminist theory and politics. It is claimed that research up to now has been inspired by an ideological thinking, following the main concepts of feminism: (a) liberal feminism based on the philosophy of ‘sameness’ and equal opportunities, and (b) radical feminism based on the philosophy of ‘difference’ and equal worth. They have both been designed to qualify critique of the gender divided education pyramid, having either integration or segregation as the political perspective and either male as a norm or female as an ideal. However, the main point in the article is that at least in the Scandinavian countries and seen as a general trend we are now witnessing a breakdown of the former education pyramid. Women as a whole, but especially the young generation, have achieved a more equal position and they have moved into many former male‐dominated subjects and areas. This situation requires a new theoretical framework and a more specific research than we have seen up to now. At the same time post‐feminism is from a theoretical viewpoint challenging the former concepts, maintaining that we have to leave the essential thinking and absolute strategies in order to open up a field of research to plurality and a constructive uncertainty. The article ends by pointing out new directions and a theoretical outset.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGender and Education
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)201-212
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1992


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