The Discursive Governing of Elementary School Student Identity in Norwegian Educational Policy 2000–2015
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Original versionInternational Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research (ILJTER). 2020, 19 (1), 136-158. https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.19.1.8
Drawing on a study of five Norwegian white papers from the period 2003–2013, this article illuminates how student identity is discursively negotiated and constructed in educational policy documents in a period of transformation in Norwegian education. By employing discourse analysis using ‘the student’ as a nodal point, the white papers are analysed in four phases: (1) identify identity resources, (2) construct subject positions, (3) cluster subject positions into student identities, and (4) identify the discursive governing of student identities. Our analysis of the documents shows how the policy documents draw on traditional and well-known educational discourses, but also how a new discourse, ‘The discourse of compliance’, emerges in this period. In particular, the article discusses possible challenges and dilemmas that might arise, such as the challenge of ‘metonymic transfer’ and ‘the temporal dilemma’, when student identity is negotiated and constructed in the intersection of different educational ideologies and discourses. The article also elucidates how ‘The discourse of compliance’ is relevant for the development of the new Norwegian educational reform of 2020. Our findings are of interest for all actors within the educational context and underscore the importance of investigating student identity in policy research. The article also lays the groundwork for several suggested approaches for further research on the topic.