Reproducing inequality through ambivalence, ignorance, and innocence: Revisiting practices of equality and human rights in Finnish teacher education

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkelijulkaisuArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


Finland has repeatedly been presented as a “success story” of equality and education, promoter of human rights and included equality and human rights as part of national curricula. However, research has shown the slow progress of integrating topics of equality and human rights in teacher education despite hundreds of project-based interventions during the past 50 years. We used historically informed discursive reading drawing from the existent literature, human rights and equality policy documents, and data from student teachers (n = 311) about their perceptions. The theoretical framework in this article is grounded in critical and feminist theories. The aim is to analyse why student teachers still report receiving too little education in human rights and equality despite the improvements in human rights and equality education law and policy. We argue that Finnish teacher education has an ambivalent role of representing itself as “exceptional” while reproducing inequalities. Furthermore, this alleged “exceptionalism” does not enable a focus on equality and human rights policies goals. We constructed a general theoretical frame to re-examine critically the role of ambivalence, ignorance, and “innocence”, which reproduce inequalities. Our analysis describes several discursive realities of public narratives and student teachers’ experiences concerning equality and human rights education. This article provides a novel interpretation frame for the persisting inequalities in education in a country that profiles itself as a champion of human rights and equality. Based on our results, we suggest critical self-reflection for educational policy to advance continuous measures to affect structural inequalities.
LehtiEducational Review
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - tammik. 2023
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä, vertaisarvioitu


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