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Socialisation and citizenship preparation in vocational education: Pedagogic codes and democratic rights in VET-subjects

Journal article
Authors Mattias Nylund
Kristina Ledman
Per-Åke Rosvall
Maria Rönnlund
Published in British Journal of Sociology of Education
Volume 41
Issue 1
Pages 1-17
ISSN 0142-5692
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Pages 1-17
Language en
Keywords Vocational education, democratic rights, pedagogic codes, social class, Basil Bernstein, citizenship education
Subject categories Educational Sciences, Pedagogy


Previous studies of citizenship preparation in upper secondary school, including studies on vocational programmes, have primarily focused on general subjects. Potential and actual roles of vocational subjects in this context have received little attention, so we have little knowledge of what is likely a significant part of the citizenship preparation that occurs in vocational programmes. Drawing on the work of Basil Bernstein and ethnographic data, this study presents an analysis of socialisation processes in vocational elements of three vocational programmes in Swedish upper secondary school. The analysis addresses the formation of pedagogic codes in various vocational programmes and subjects, and how these codes condition students’ practice of citizenship at individual, social and political levels. The results show how different pedagogic codes have different implications for the students’ practice of citizenship, and thus raise questions about factors and processes that may either constrain or strengthen, this aspect in vocational subject classes.

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