Yliopiston etusivulle Suomeksi In English
Helsingin yliopisto Kasvatustieteen laitos

Kansalaisuus, toimijuus ja erot toisen asteen koulutuksessa – painopisteenä ammatilliset oppilaitokset

Tietoa ryhmästä:


Kasvatustieteen laitos
Siltavuorenpenger 20 R
PL 9
00014 Helsingin yliopisto
Puhelin (09) 191 20555
Faksi (09) 191 20561


Agency of young people in post-compulsory educational choices

In this theme group focus is in young people’s educational transitions after comprehensive school. Educational policies and official statistics address choices as if they were two equal options that are open for each student: general and vocational upper secondary school, with possibilities for further transitions to university from both. This official rhetoric hides several taken-for-granted structural and cultural barriers; it also bears implicit neo liberal ideas of individual choice and life long learning as a possibility and responsibility for all (Ball 2007).

Through life historical narratives we analyse how young people from multiple positions, in terms of social class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity/nationality or background in special education, enact agency and negotiate and challenge educational paths. We ask what kinds of resources and capitals (Bourdieu) they have and what kind of futures they plan and imagine.

We plan to include data from educational paths that do not fit into the dichotomy between general and vocational education: (vocational) workshops and degrees combining general and vocational upper secondary education. Cross cultural and comparative reflections from various sub studies also enables us to analyse changes and differences in young people’s positions, time and space. Young people’s life histories are reflected with the post modern theories of individualisation and ‘can do’ rhetoric which does not pay attention to structural and material barriers (cf. Thomson & Holland, 2002).

Our aim is to critically analyse the policy and curricular documents as well as official statistics of post compulsory education. We are planning to deconstruct the regimes of truth imbedded in statements and categorisations that construct the young people in transition and in vocational education - 'the human kind' (Lindblad & Popkewitz, 2003). We ask, for example, whether and in which context the student is positioned as male or female, as 'normal' or in the risk of exclusion. We scrutinize the discourses that travel in time and space (cf. Arnesen, Lahelma & Öhrn, forthcoming 2008); Finnish documents from the 1970s until the new millennium and current EU documents (especially in the post doc study of Brunila) are studied through genealogical analysis and deconstruction (Derrida 1988; Foucault 1984; Lather 2003). Special attention is paid to the development of new kind of educational governing techniques which target young unemployed adults and form a new kind of subjectivity and 'active' citizenship.

Researchers and their topics:

  • Tarja Palmu: women who went to girls’ school in the 1970s
  • Elina Lahelma: young people who went to comprehensive school in the 1990s
  • Jukka Lehtonen: non-heterosexual young people
  • Kristiina Brunila: young and unemployed adults who negotiate with various educational governing techniques
  • Reetta Mietola: young people with background in special education
  • Maire Antikainen: women with immigrant background
  • Merja Jacobsson: adult women in cleaning services education
  • Sanna Aaltonen: educational paths of socio-economically disadvantaged young people
  • Tuuli Kurki: young people outside of the bicentric upper secondary education
  • Tuulia Jokela: youth with child protection service background