chapter  4
Costing Democracy: Schooling, Equality and Democracy in Sweden
Pages 16

The aim of this chapter is neither to eulogise the Swedish education system nor to offer up that system as a model for Great Britain to emulate. Nor will I be attempting a detailed empirical exegesis of that system. Rather I hope to employ the Swedish case, set over and against the British version of school education, as a vehicle for an exercise in disidentification (Pecheux, 1975). That is as a way of challenging the prevailing ideologies and practices which constitute 'good' education. By working antagonistically in relation to dominant educational discourses I shall attempt to displace and transform some key elements within those discourses. In particular I want to raise questions about the frequent claim that a direct and automatic link exists between academic 'standards' in education and economic performance and to displace the concept of 'excellence' from its central position in our thinking about what education is for. In doing this I shall argue for a re-emphasis on the social goals of education, specifically the relation of education to the contents and practices of democracy.