The aim of the research project is to analyse how citizenship and differences are constructed in vocational upper secondary education and how teachers and students are positioned and position themselves as agents in this field. The empirical findings that mainly draw from ethnographical studies in vocational education will be reflected and contrasted with data concerning general (academically oriented) upper secondary education and other post-compulsory options. Also young people’s transitions to secondary education and forward are explored, with some reflections from the earlier decades, drawn from life historical studies. Current changes in Finnish and European educational and labour policies provide the context for the analysis. Policy documents, institutional practices, cultural processes and experiences and interpretations of teachers and students are studied. Focus is on the dimensions of difference, such as gender, social background, ethnicity, sexuality, background in special education, locality, age, and their interlinking. In dialog with actors in the field, more inclusive pedagogies and educational practices are searched.
The project is supported by the Academy of Finland 2010-2013