Insurance and Assurance: Teachers’ Strategies in the Regimes of Risk and Audit

Dec. 25, 2009

Source: European Educational Research Journal, Volume 8 Number 4 (2009), pages 508‑519.

This paper deals with how the increasing use of notions such as ‘risk awareness’ and ‘blame’ in relation to school affects the daily work of Swedish teachers.

With the help of empirical excerpts from documents and focus group interviews, the authors provide examples of how the introduction of the risk society and audit cultures encourages the creation of new strategies for coping. Two of these strategies concern the mediation of ‘safe school’ images and preventions in order to avoid future blame. The authors depict them as strategies of assurance and insurance. The increasing handling of these strategies seems to draw attention away from relations to students and actual time spent on teaching.

When considering an action, teachers seem to balance the risk of attracting blame against the didactic potential.
Finally, the possibility of practices which reflect more positive risk logic is discussed.

Updated: Feb. 21, 2010