De-mythed: democracy, equality and human rights within Finnish education

In his doctoral thesis Ashley Simpson deconstructs democracy, equality and human rights by using discourse analyses to reveal the ideologies behind how these notions are constructed and performed within Finnish education.

Ashley Simpson shows in his research at the University of Helsinki that the ways Finnish education is sold to the world creates problems in terms of how democracy, equality and human rights are discussed within Finland and internationally. Simpson calls for the need to think inwardly and critically about these notions rather than reproducing simplistic or overt generalisations about particular countries and/or contexts. 

- Such sentiments and practices can engender forms of marginalization and discrimination within Finland and beyond due to the fact that marginal voices can be suppressed by hegemonic ideologies, says Simpson.

In looking through the gaze of the education export industry this thesis shows the ways the key notions of this study are used to promote and sell Finnish education overseas. Simpson problematizes the implications this has within the country of Finland and suggests recommendations in order to detect and prevent forms of discrimination through so-called ‘democratic values’.  

Ashley Simpson will defend his doctoral dissertation, entitled The dialogism of ideologies about equality, democracy and human rights within Finnish education: Many voices and many faces on 16 February at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Educational Sciences. The public defence will be held at 12:00 noon in Minervatori K226 (Siltavuorenpenger 5A). The dissertation is also available in electronic format through the E-thesis services.

Contact details of the doctoral candidate (contacts in English):

Ashley Simpson, tel. 050 466 5083,