226 pages | 3 B/W Illus.
Emerging from a Marxist perspective, this book focuses on the importance of social class and the role of education broadly in relation to the possibility of revolutionary change in Sweden and beyond. Critically tracing the celebrated so-called ‘Swedish model’ from its inception to its current neoliberalisation, Maisuria explores the contours of class as part of social democratic history, culture and education, especially against the alternatives of communism and fascism. Presenting empirical research on class consciousness within a higher education context, Maisuria analyses student testimonies on their perceptions of social democracy and ‘Swedishness’ with ethno-racial dynamics, which is subjected to a Gramscian and Critical Realist derived explanatory critique for social transformation.
"Alpesh Maisuria's engaging and important book provides a key contribution to contemporary Marxist research on how class is lived and on class struggle under neo-liberalism, by exploring these issues in Sweden - a country which has historically been strongly shaped by social democratic principles and ideals. Maisuria also contributes to Marxist and critical scholarship by developing a sophisticated theoretical framework synthesizing Gramsci and critical realism, which is intricately deployed through life history interviews."
—Elias le Grand, Senior Lecturer, Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden
"Alpesh Maisuria's book on Class Consciousness and Education in Sweden identifies how the system of education that has developed there has not only failed to provide either equality or empowerment for the mass of the population, despite its promises, it has also reflected an educational outlook of bourgeois socialism rather than radical reform. Based on a combination of Gramscian Cultural Marxism, Bhaskar's Critical Realism, and life history method, Maisuria's investigation identified quite simply that Sweden's education system was not empowering for the working classes, however much this was claimed to be the case. There was some pretence of this taking place, but universities, schools and educational curricula have continued to be developed in ways that reproduce bourgeois values and repress class consciousness within the working class, whose unacknowledged labour power was ironically exploited to set up the education system in the first place. Yet despite this the education system is often considered to be a model of equity to be copied by other countries. Education is a weapon of class domination in Sweden just as much as it is in other capitalist countries. The book is very compulsory reading for my postgraduate students in Sweden, and I recommend it highly, especially at time of deepening crisis for social democracy and increasing relevance of Marxist analysis."
--Dennis Beach, Gothenburg University, Sweden
PART ONE: MARXISM, SWEDEN AND TWO CRISES
CHAPTER 1: CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS TOWARDS THE POSSIBILITY OF REVOLUTION
CHAPTER 2: CHARTING A HISTORY OF SOCIAL DEMOCRACY
CHAPTER 3: THEORETICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL MARXISM AS A SOCIAL SCIENCE
PART TWO: DESIGNING AN EMPIRICAL STUDY OF CONSCIOUNESS AND PRACTICES OF CLASS
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH STRATEGY AND DESIGN
PART THREE: RESEARCHING CONSCIOUNESS AND PRACTICES OF CLASS IN SWEDEN
CHAPTER 5: THE FINDINGS OF A CASE STUDY ON CONSCIOUSNESS AND PRACTICES OF CLASS IN SWEDEN
CHAPTER 6: AIMING FOR A GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF LIFE SWEDEN 317
PART FOUR: MAKING SENSE OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND PRACTICES OF SOCIAL CLASS IN SWEDEN 327
CHAPTER 7: DEVELOPING AN EXPLANATORY CRITIQUE FROM ACCOUNTS OF EMPIRICAL REALITY 327
CHAPTER 8: CONCLUDING REMARKS, TAKING STOCK AND MOVING ON 342
Neoliberalism is degrading and destroying public education systems globally. The local characteristics may vary, the results are common - increased inequalities in schooling, vocational and higher education, inferior work conditions for teachers and faculty, and detheorized and technicized delivery systems of increasing conservative curricula at all levels of education. Neoliberalism - marketization, privatization, pre-privatization, commodification - is increasingly accompanied by forms of authoritarian conservatism - secular in some countries, religious in others - with increased control, surveillance, and forced abandonment of critique. Such neoliberal and conservative assaults on public education and on broader aims than those which are couched purely in terms of economic/human capital - meet with increased resistance by students, teachers, communities, social movements, and in some countries, political parties.
The Routledge Studies in Education, Neoliberalism, and Marxism series features books by new as well as established scholars that throw a harsh spotlight on the conditions under which education currently labors and offers analysis, hope, and resistance in the name of more collective, egalitarian education for social and for economic justice.