Browsing by Subject "metarepresentaatio"

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  • Seitamaa, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The purpose of this study is to understand how Finnish educational policy experts made sense of multiculturalism in the context of vocational education and training (VET). VET is responsible for integrating migrants and students with a migrant background into Finnish working life and society. National experts have a unique perspective on how increasing cultural diversity amongst students is changing institutional and grassroots reality in VET. Social representation theory was selected as the theoretical framework for this study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eleven national experts from key organizations working with VET. The interview data was qualitatively first analyzed in terms of thematic content and finally in search of potential social representations and possible corresponding anchors and objectifications. All of the experts were experienced and knowledgeable about multiculturalism in VET and openly expressed their thoughts. The VET reform was a central part of the background of this study but was not itself the focus. The experts’ social representation of multiculturalism included descriptive and normative dimensions. The descriptive focused on the lived reality of multiculturalism in VET from various perspectives while the normative focused on normative institutional, organizational and cultural responses to it. Experts described different tensions, conflicts and anxieties caused by increasing cultural diversity in both VET as well as civic and working life in Finland. These descriptions were combined with critical reflections on how multiculturalism is currently being prioritized and accommodated in educational policy and practice. Finally, the experts’ speech was infused with metarepresentations about the way different social actors engage in collective struggle over the meaning of multiculturalism. Experts used their social representation of multiculturalism in order to defend and uphold the social values at the core of the Finnish education system and contribute to a better future in which everyone studying in VET can be themselves.