A Contribution to Re-theorizing Curriculum Research


  • Michael Uljens Åbo Akademi University




Contemporary curriculum reform, teaching and educational leadership are to an increasing degree challenged by similar transnational policy developments in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. As a consequence, curriculum theorizing has been very much debated the past decade, but conceptual progress has been limited. The aim of this article is to contribute with a new opening to the field of curriculum research, primarily by analyzing the strengths and limitations of a non-affirmative theory of education. This position is argued to provide a more theoretically coherent paradigm for a systematic treatment of the many dimensions involved, especially as it frames the German-Nordic paradigm of Didaktik, and adds to it. Non-affirmative education also moves beyond a currere or Bildung oriented conceptualization, as well as more instrumental and ideology-critical positions frequent in the English speaking cultures.

Author Biography

Michael Uljens, Åbo Akademi University

After his appointment as professor in education at Helsinki university in the year 2000, Michael Uljens has since 2003 been working as professor of General Education and Educational Leadership at Åbo Akademi University. Prof. Uljens has also been working at different universities in Sweden (Gothenburg, Uppsala, Umeå), Germany (Humboldt university), Malta and the USA (Arizona) and in China (ECNU, Shanghai). Michael Uljens leads a research program "Non-Affirmative Educational Theory and Hermeneutic School Development in a Globopolitan Era". In its theoretical parts the projects reconstructs and develops core notions of modern education focussing Bildung, intersubjectivity, recognition and hermeneutics, in developing theory of pedagogical collaborative activity in a globopolitan perspective. In its empirical parts the project studies research supported development of educational leadership from classrooms to transnational levels. Many of his publications mediate between Nordic, German and Anglo-American approaches to Didaktik, curriculum studies and General Education (Allgemeine Pädagogik). He has been working with both quantitative (Lisrel) and qualitative methods (phenomenography). He has published in Swedish, Finnish, English and German. Some work is translated into Polish and Japanese. In his most recent book (https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319586489), free to be downloaded by anyone, he argues that successful school development in a globopolitan era requires a coordinated, balanced and systemic multi-level approach including curriculum and policy work, school leadership and teaching. Recent publications: www.researchgate.net/profile/Michael_Uljens2/publications


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