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How the self-governing imperative alters the classroom as a public space

Hangartner, Judith; Fankhauser, Regula; Budde, Jürgen; Forkby, Torbjörn; Alstam, Kristina (2022). How the self-governing imperative alters the classroom as a public space. In: Hühnersdorf, Bettina; Breidenstein, Georg; Dinkelaker, Jörg; Schnoor, Oliver; Tyagunova, Tanya (eds.) Going public? Erziehungswissenschaftliche Ethnographie und ihre Öffentlichkeiten (pp. 135-148). Wiesbaden: Springer VS 10.1007/978-3-658-34085-8_9

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This article asks how the classroom as a public space is transformed by recent educational trends that focus on the improvement of learning. It discusses the learning office, character education and the “Life in Action” programme as three instances of the new learning dispositiive. As distinct as these programmes are, they all operate with self-governing technologies that aim at enabling students to take responsibility for their own learning. We argue that these programmes alter the classroom as a public space: the students’ social behaviour and their selves are turned into a learning object that might be discussed in the public of the classroom. In the learning office, by contrast, the public engagement with subject knowledge that characterises the traditional classroom is displaced by students’ individual work. However, the programmes have also unintended consequences. Some of the students may contest the self-governing imperative and they may use the public of the class as an arena to denigrate their classmates. The discussion contrasts insights gained in ethnographic projects carried out in classrooms in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland and is informed by a governmentality perspective.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)

PHBern Contributor:

Hangartner, Judith, Fankhauser, Regula




Springer VS


[17 w 0003 01] Führung zur Selbstführung - Eine ethnografische Studie zu schulischen Settings des selbstständigen Lernens Official URL




Jessica Brunner

Date Deposited:

09 Feb 2023 12:09

Last Modified:

05 Sep 2023 04:06

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

ethnographic research, classroom research, public




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