Time, Space and Young People’s Agency in Vocational Upper Secondary Education: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

May. 21, 2010

Source: European Educational Research Journal, Volume 9 Number 2 (2010). p. 245-256.

This paper is based on ethnographic studies in the context of vocational education: two in Sweden and one in Finland.

The Swedish data originate from the Vehicle programme and the Child and Recreation programme; the Finnish data originate from the social and health-care sector.
In this sense, the authors’ perspective is cross-cultural.

The article focuses on temporal and spatial dimensions of these three educational contexts.
Furthermore, the article analyzes how young people exhibit their agency when negotiating their time and constructing their own space.

The authors’ analysis elucidates how time–space paths in the context of vocational education are classed and gendered.
In the female-dominated fields of vocational upper secondary education, disciplinary practices related to time and space are more visible than in the male-dominated fields.
Moreover, it is argued that the political atmosphere in Sweden has been more favourable for promoting equality than that in Finland.
Despite this, divisions between students and pigeonholing exist in everyday school life.

Updated: Oct. 29, 2010