The focus of this paper is on how Art and Music School leaders talk about the inclusion of children and adolescents with mixed abilities in relation to policy. A starting point is that both an investigation and earlier studies have revealed inclusion problems within Art and Music Schools.
The aim of this paper is to investigate the discourses that emerge when Sweden’s Art and Music School leaders talk about the inclusion of pupils with mixed abilities in relation to policy. The research question is: how are Art and Music School practice, policy and inclusion of pupils with mixed abilities connected within and through leaders’ discursive practices?
The data are based on three focus group conversations with a total of sixteen Art and Music School leaders from northern, central and southern Sweden.
Discourse analysis as a social constructionist approach is applied since it provides a means to investigate a connection that is important to the research object, namely the connection between social change and discourse. Concepts from discursive psychology and from Foucauldian inspired discourse analysis are applied in order to investigate connections between rhetorical strategies on a micro level and discourses on an institutional level. The concept of multicentric inclusion is introduced and applied in the analysis. In addition, concepts from educational policy theories are applied in order to analyse how policies are conceptualised and enacted in the context of the leaders’ discursive practices.
The analysis exposes three discourses: multicentric inclusion discourse, normality discourse, and specialisation discourse. There are tensions between multicentric inclusion discourse versus normality discourse as well as between multicentric inclusion discourse versus specialisation discourse. The absence of a national inclusion policy, as this researcher interprets the results, makes it possible for some leaders to legitimise the absence of local inclusion policy, which favours the normality discourse.
- Art and Music School
- mixed abilities