Educating ‘Euro-citizens’: A Study of a Vocational Uppers Secondary Programme in Health Care and Social Services in a Finnish (Sub)Urban Setting

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In previous decades, education was largely a national project for Finland, but more recently, it has been coopted by transnational, especially European policy-making. It is argued that education is designed now primarily to produce capable citizens for the trans-national labour-market. In this chapter, analysis focuses on the aims concerning the creation of the ideal labour market citizen by means of the upper secondary vocational programme, Health Care and Social Services. I focus in particular on the core subject of ‘Social, Business and Labour Market’, which is seen here as an arena, in which expectations for future labour market citizenship are manifested, even if in a condensed form. The analysis draws on three-year ethnographic study of an upper-secondary vocational institute, having a college in a suburban area, where average income is relatively low and unemployment rates are high. Both from a social and physical point of view, the college is the obvious choice of students from working-class backgrounds. The analysis is guided by poststructuralist and material feminist theorizing, intertwined with contextualised ethnographic perspectives. Vocational curriculum documentation produces the ideal subjectivity of labour-market citizenship in accordance with neo-liberal reasoning and emphasis on transnationalism. However, the analysis of cultural practices in the female-dominated area of Health Care and Social Services provides a more complex picture, indicating ambivalence and to an extent, resistance. The chapter concludes with a discussion about the importance of Europeanisation in Finnish vocational education in urban settings, the power of teachers and students to disrupt the discourse of European neoliberalism and the implications and spaces available for the urban youth involved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSecond International Handbook of Urban Education
EditorsWilliam T. Pink, George W. Noblit, Elisabet Öhrn, Gaby Weiner
Number of pages16
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-40315-1
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-40317-5
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameSpringer International Handbooks of Education
ISSN (Print)2197-1951
ISSN (Electronic)2197-196X

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • Urban education, ethnography, vocational education, gender studies, citizenship education

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