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Exploring Young People’s Images of Responsibility for Others: A Significant Question for Democracy
Uppsala University, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Curriculum Studies.
2007 (English)In: The International Journal of Learning, ISSN 1447-9494, Vol. 14, no 7, 171-178 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Due to the social and political changes that have taken place in Sweden and other Western countries, the task of creating a democratic environment is more markedly than before assigned to the free individual and her responsibility (SOU: 1988, p. 20, SOU 2001:1, p. 37, Halstead: 2005, p. 116). Hence, people’s responsibility for others can be understood as playing a key role in producing ‘good’ responses to others which in turn are seen as essential for a democracy as a form of life (Dewey: 1916/2002) that strives to be open for everyone. However, the meaning of ‘good’ responses to others is far from obvious.

Notwithstanding the intricate features of responsibility for others, school documents often deal with the question by advocating for the manifestation of the Democratic Value Foundation. Responsibility for others is there understood as the summary of the democratic values stated in the curriculum (Hedin’s & Lahdenperä’s: 2003, p. 23) as well as a hierarchical phenomenon that will grow hand in hand with the increase of individual influence or power (prop. 1996/97:109, p. 5). However, considering the changes in society and the world in large the narrow focus upon the meaning of responsibility for others seems inadequate. Instead of mainly striving to pass on pre-defined values or encourage students to actively adapt them there is a point in probing into the field of responsibility differently, namely by focusing on the complex web of human power-relations rather than policy documents and by paying regard to different and sometimes contradictory forces in society. The purpose of this article is to approach and discuss the meaning of responsibility by presenting one person’s story about how she comprehends good and bad responses towards others.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 14, no 7, 171-178 p.
Keyword [en]
moral responsibility, possibilities, bars, social justice, case study
National Category
Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-15512OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-15512DiVA: diva2:43283
Available from: 2008-02-18 Created: 2008-02-18 Last updated: 2012-02-15Bibliographically approved

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Edling, Silvia
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