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What kind of power perspectives does democracy generate?: the first step in order to understand responsibility for others
Uppsala University, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Teacher Training. Uppsala University, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Teacher Training. didaktik. (att lära sig demokrati, SIDES)
2005 (English)In: The international Journal of learning, vol 12: The first step in order to understand responsibility for others1, ISSN 1447-9540, Vol. 12, 9- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Fostering pupils into taking responsibility for others is clearly emphasised in the Swedish school curriculum which is based on democratic values. Although the term responsibility is a highly significant component in school guidelines, it is nevertheless presented in such a way as if the content of the word is obvious and hence stripped from power interferences. In the few cases when investigations related to responsibility have been connected to power influences, power have been defined narrowly rendering the concept of responsibility to become restricted as well. The starting-point for this paper is an urge to approach and understand responsibility for others from a wider point of view by investigating the ways young people in different ages and settings comprehend democracy and indirectly power.

In this analysis four different power perspectives can be detected: vertical power with a stable centre, vertical power without a stable centre, horizontal/communicative power, horizontal/emancipatory power. Regarding these four power perspectives, there is a clear distinction between internal and external power forces. In the first case the ability of taking responsibility for another does not depend upon, for instance gaining knowledge, getting help from a collective or being distributed power. However, a view on power as a mainly internal business may raise questions concerning the individual’s possibilities or will to get in touch with other power generators. On the other hand, chiefly regarding power as an external capacity may impede the dynamics of responsible action since it is only possible to have and conduct from a certain position or under specific circumstances.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 12, 9- p.
Keyword [en]
responsibility, power, school, democracy, Sweden, curriculum
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-81833OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-81833DiVA: diva2:109748
Available from: 2006-09-04 Created: 2006-09-04 Last updated: 2012-02-09

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Edling, Silvia
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