Education in the North (Dec 2020)

Discursive gaps as spaces for Sami educational self-governance: A Bernsteinian analysis of classification and framing

  • Katarina Parfa Koskinen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 27, no. 2
pp. 136 – 151


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The current COVID-19 crisis has made digitally mediated education the centre of attention. Even before, in 2015, changes in the Swedish Educational Act opened up remote education within the compulsory school system, i.e. pupils aged 6–15. Remote, in this paper, signifies synchronous online education where students and teachers are separated in space but not in time. This paper aims at bringing about an understanding of the mechanisms and practices of cultural reproduction and transformation contributing to the construction of remote Sámi language education organised and offered by the Sámi Education Board in Sweden. To investigate if and how digital technologies influence the access to culturally and linguistically relevant education, a theory driven, thematic document analysis has been conducted. Through the Bernsteinian concepts of classification and framing, discursive gaps/spaces are identified and described. Especially where framing is weak, self-governing gaps/spaces are located, though not fully utilised as such due to lack of financial resources. Remote education can play a vital role in counteracting historical assimilative politics responsible for today's situation regarding e.g. lack of licensed Sámi language teachers and teaching aids. These issues can only be resolved by allocating more financial resources from state level.