First, we focus on the relation between the phenomena of curriculum theory and didaktik, which in some way recalls the origins of our field, a recollection of the rela- tionship between curriculum and didaktik, or as further on and synonymously, called Didaktik, as interrelated research interests. Both betray the complexity of the phenomenon on which they focus, that is, public educa- tion. In recent years, there have been several endeavours which have attempted to contribute to the understanding of the political factors which influence public education. We have witnessed the ongoing observation of transna- tional spaces and fields, the expression of a convergence, a reassembling of the world, built on the foundations of transnational policy, and indeed scientific networks (Nordin & Sundberg, 2014). However, a complementary focus on Didaktik also reminds us that while policy might change, the practice often remains static, and vice versa (Anderson-Levitt, 2007). The Didaktik versus Curriculum Network was established over 20 years ago by Stefan Hopmann, Ian Westbury, Bjo ̈rg Gundem and colleagues to improve understanding and to develop analytical instruments concerning the relation between the organisa- tion of schooling in its nation-specific context. Their ideas and their subsequent development were a primary focus of the conference.
Education takes place through curriculum enacted in specific classrooms in specific schools and universities, in specific neighbourhoods in specific municipalities. We must therefore conceptualise curriculum in relation to the different sites where it takes place. Here, we can also return to a historical recollection of the Nordic field, in particular, of curriculum theory, which draws significantly on the work of Basil Bernstein. His thoughts on how instruction is controlled by pace, sequence and selection (Bernstein, 1971) relate to the idea of didactical planning (Klafki, 2000). Moreover, the reasoning of Bernstein (1971) on code and message systems, that is, pedagogy, curriculum and evaluation can contribute to a further understanding of how different sites, from a national and transnational perspective, are interrelated.
The ideas of Bernstein (1971) about framing and classifying finally lead us to the second theme of this special issue: the matter of spacing and scaling. In times where, through globalisation, the space of schooling is apparently being stretched and extended, our theorising needs to demonstrate a deep awareness of the concepts and devices which we apply when we consider this issue, in particular, the spatial aspects of the term ‘transnational’. Stated differently, we need strong analytical devices to theorise where public education takes place, where it is governed from, or where it takes its inspiration from. However, we must also consider how spaces are con- structed beyond a transnational policy sphere (cf. Nordin & Sundberg, 2014), which also points to the relational aspect of ‘transnational’, who decides in favour of whom, about what and why?
One final aspect of this issue should also be mentioned here. We are not concerned with the question of whether certain modes of coping with transnational curriculum issues are more or less sophisticated. We theorise rather how something takes form: which problems are identified, which solutions are preferred in which contexts and why? The use of the term context here covers all the levels, spaces, fields and spheres of public education: transna- tional, national, municipal, school or university level.
The issue is divided into three sections: First we present the keynotes of the conference (Section 1), followed by Section 2, which concerns the revitalisation of the curricu- lum/didaktik relations. Section 3, Space reconsidered: Reframing curriculum theory, is the final part of this issue.
For the sake of clarification, the terms Didaktik and didactics are used synonymously in the articles of this issue.
CoAction Publishing, 2015. , 94 p.
Fifth Nordic Curriculum Theory Conference, 23-24 October 2013, Uppsala University, Sweden