The L1 subject in a world of increasing individualism. Democratic paradoxes in Norwegian L1 classrooms





L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature;


International Association for the Improvement of Mother Tongue Education



Ever since the 1930s when the Social Democrats took over, Norwegian public school has been based on a democratic metaphor of liberation. John Dewey´s ideas about pragmatism offered a way to think about a free individual associated with modernity. In this article we examine the L1 subject today and its didactical traditions in the still student-oriented, open and democratic Norwegian school. In this tradition the L1 subject, a humanistic and hermeneutic subject, has been closely related to “natural” interpretations of everyday life and to everyday discourses and understandings. As this subject is approached in modern, student-oriented schools and in contemporary individual-oriented cultures, learning difficulties commonly arise for a growing number of students. We present three qualitative studies that all show aspects of this same problem (Elf & Kaspersen (ed.) 2012; Skarstein, 2013; Penne, 2014). They reveal aspects of the same trend and can help explain the increasing social inequalities in Norwegian schools.


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