Becoming fit for transnational comparability: exploring challenges in Danish and Swedish teacher education reforms

John Benedicto Krejsler, Olsson Ulf, Petersson Kenneth

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter traces how national teacher education policy discourse in Denmark
and Sweden is being transformed by opaque, albeit often inclusive, processes in
transnational policy forums, such as the Bologna Process, OECD, and EU. This
is facilitated by “soft law” surrounding the imagined needs of modern nations,
if they are to succeed in “an increasingly competitive global race among
knowledge economies.” In the case of the Bologna Process, the transformative
effects are often rather direct. More often, however, effects touch upon national
educational agendas in indirect ways, in terms of an emerging, overarching
logic and governance technologies like comparisons, stocktaking, standards,
performance indicators, benchmarking, and best practice. These transnational
templates make national teacher education programs comparable. They are
fueled by mutual peer pressure among competing nations. Consequently,
Danish teacher education discourse has emerged from a distinctly national
vocational seminary tradition, into a modernized university college discourse
that increasingly fits the transnational templates of comparability, albeit at
a slower pace than her Swedish neighbor. It is often difficult to notice the
pervasive impact of transnational policy, as reforms of culturally sensitive
school and teacher education areas are often discursively reinscribed in heated
national debates. The EU and OECD are not popular figures to pull out in
public political debate, in either Denmark or Sweden. The Bologna Process
is largely unknown to the broader public. Theoretically, this chapter draws on
post-Foucauldian governmentality studies. Empirically, it draws on discourse
analysis of European (EU), Danish and Swedish national documents, and
literature on policy reform.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducational Governance Research
EditorsElisabeth Hultqvist, Sverker Lindblad, Thomas S. Popkewitz
Number of pages19
Place of publicationCham (CH)
Publication date1 Jan 2018
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-61969-9
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-61971-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
SeriesEducational Governance Research


  • Bologna Process
  • Comparability
  • Denmark
  • Education reform
  • Europeanization
  • Foucault
  • Governmentality
  • Sweden
  • Teacher education
  • Transnational policy


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