“Vår grundsyn har alltid varit att vi inte vill presentera några färdiga sanningar”
: En analys av ideologin i begreppet hållbar utveckling i svensk skola

Translated title of the thesis: “Our view has always been that we do not want to present established truths”: An analysis of the ideology in the concept sustainable development in the Swedish school system
  • Utas Finn
  • Ekström Emelie

Student thesis: Master, one year


This study aims to examine ways to understand the ideological dimension of Sustainable Development (SD), as it is portrayed in the Swedish school system, and the consequences thereof. By examining policy documents, in the form of curricula and formal reports from relevant agencies, the role of the concept of SD in the Swedish school system is discussed and analysed by applying the analytical methods of ideology criticism from a critical theory standpoint, with the aim to explore possible underlying ideological content. The research questions focus on if, and if so why, ideological components are apparent in the material through the theoretical framework of critical theory, with special attention paid to the theories of Žižek and Bauman. Special methodological considerations to the empirical aspect of this essay is applied to improve the rigidity of the analysis. A theoretical model of ideological awareness is sketched to illustrate the importance of theoretical knowledge going into the material. The analysis shows that the concept of SD can most accurately be described by using the marxist concept of fetischism, a form of reification, which displaces SD from its context and makes it both unquestionable and all encompassing. The ideological function of SD in the Swedish school system is argued to be the ability to suppress possibilities to discuss among other things: power inequalities, environmental questions from other aspects than SD as well as criticism of SD itself. The study concludes that raising an ideological awareness in teachers may be a way to grasp the immense ideological power the concept of SD holds in the Swedish school system and to counteract alienation in both teachers and students. New avenues of research are introduced from questions raised during this work and as a result of the conclusions reached.

Date of Award2021-Apr-27
Original languageSwedish
SupervisorPeter Gustavsson (Supervisor) & Lars-Erik Nilsson (Examiner)

Educational program

  • Ämneslärarutbildningen inriktning mot gymnasiet

University credits

  • 30 HE credits

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Educational Sciences (503)


  • sustainable development
  • esd
  • ideological awareness
  • ideology criticism
  • critical theory
  • žižek
  • bauman

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