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The continuation of perceived deviance: Independent confessional schools in Sweden 1795–2019
Marie Cederschiöld University, Centre for Civil Society Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8178-2993
2023 (English)In: British Journal of Religious Education, ISSN 0141-6200, E-ISSN 1740-7931, Vol. 45, no 4, p. 313-324Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article aims to contribute to the ongoing discussion on public religion by describing how independent confessional schools were established in Sweden (1795–2019) and by clarifying and deconstructing the dominant ideals that underpin school policy initiatives concerning religion, education, and independent confessional schools. I seek to answer the question: In what way do independent confessional schools appear problematic in relation to general school policy during the period 1795–2019? Employing both descriptive quantitative analysis using register data on independent confessional schools and critical policy analysis inspired by Bacchi’s WPR-approach (‘What’s the Problem Represented to Be’), this study shows that (1) independent confessional schools are not a new or growing phenomenon in Sweden and (2) throughout this study’s focal period, regardless of whether a religious or secular foundation was ascribed to Sweden’s public school system, independent confessional schools were perceived to deviate from public schools’ principal values.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2023. Vol. 45, no 4, p. 313-324
Keywords [en]
Confessional schools, Public religion, Religious diversity, Sweden
National Category
Business Administration Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-9537DOI: 10.1080/01416200.2022.2073967OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-9537DiVA, id: diva2:1658428
Available from: 2022-05-16 Created: 2022-05-16 Last updated: 2024-01-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Exceptions in the Swedish School System: Exploring the Conditions Facing Secular and Confessional Nonprofit Schools
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exceptions in the Swedish School System: Exploring the Conditions Facing Secular and Confessional Nonprofit Schools
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Swedish school system underwent a series of reforms that opened up the system for independent schools funded through vouchers. Since then, for-profit firms have gained significant traction and constitute a far greater share of the school system compared to nonprofits. This dissertation aims to contribute to a better understanding of the conditions facing secular and confessional nonprofit schools, both during the establishment process and the day-to-day operations. To achieve this aim, I have adopted an institutional approach which in this case implies that I focus both on formal rules and regulations (i.e., legal framework) as well as systems of beliefs, values, and ideas. The articles included in the dissertation analyze four conditions. First, I point to how confessional schools have always been perceived as deviant and as reducing social cohesion. This remains true regardless of whether the value system of the Swedish school system has been said to rest on a secular or a religious foundation. Second, I show how a lack of a philanthropic infrastructure in Sweden makes it harder for nonprofits to initiate new schools. Third, I discuss how due to the marginal presence of independent schools in Sweden before the school choice reform there is a lack of intermediary organizations giving advice to nonprofit schools regarding best practices and representing them at the political level. Fourth, I show how the design of the legal framework of the school system puts high demands on nonprofit schools to conform both to a bureaucratic logic and a market logic. Taken together, the results point to various conditions that contribute to a situation in which secular and confessional nonprofit schools have difficulties asserting themselves in the Swedish school system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Marie Cederschiöld högskola, 2023. p. 126
Series
Avhandlingsserie inom området Människan i välfärdssamhället, ISSN 2003-3699 ; 19
Keywords
Nonprofit schools, Confessional schools, School choice, Sweden, Institutional logics, Public religion, Marketization of welfare, Civil society
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
The Individual in the Welfare Society, Social Welfare and the Civil Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-10435 (URN)
Public defence
2023-11-10, Aulan, Campus Ersta, Stigbergsgatan 30, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-10-19 Created: 2023-10-17 Last updated: 2023-10-19

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