A cry, a clash and a parting: a French pragmatic sociology approach to ‘the struggle over the teacher’s soul’

Diana Holmqvist (2020)

International Studies in Sociology of Education. Online first, pp. 1-20.

Abstract. This article argues for using French pragmatic sociology to explore tensions regarding teachers’ work, by studying critique formulated by teachers themselves. Based on interviews with teachers in Swedish adult education it shows how teachers labour to reconcile ‘what is’ with ‘what should be’ by voicing critique. The findings suggest that, while some critique echoes institutionalised conventions without questioning them, formulating critique is also a way of resisting, where teachers tap into alternative conventions, or disengage from established practices. Some choose to ignore institutional rules, while others change jobs. These findings establish that some critique can serve to maintain the status quo and its institutionalised truths. However, pushing at reality through acts of critique can also fracture reality, which in turn allows other conventions to take root in the cracks. Identifying the various types of critique employed to question institutionalised conventions highlights the work that teachers do to shape reality.

Link to the article