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Between transport and transfer: Schoolbags in the lives of pupils and classrooms
Malmö University, Faculty of Education and Society (LS), Department of School Development and Leadership (SOL).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9720-0233
Malmö University, Faculty of Education and Society (LS), Department of School Development and Leadership (SOL).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5315-452X
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There are objects that are so strongly attached with a situation that they become hard to distinguish from the situation itself. They “become invisible”, although crucial for the emergence and the actual becoming of the situation.

The overarching aim is to investigate such an invisible object, i.e., schoolbags and how their contents function in the lives of pupils. Of special interest is the connection between the privacy of the home and the public, societal world of school and classroom. Whilst earlier studies have focused on ergonomics this study aims at contributing to an understanding of the complex functions of schoolbags, providing new perspectives on their pedagogical and social role.

Socio-materialist theory is used as an ontological stance understanding schoolbags as objects that establish and maintain actions and norms in a given social context. The uniqueness of the study calls for a more basic approach on the analytical level, carefully investigating and describing the content of the schoolbags as well as their context, i.e., the German school system. The study’s original point of departure has been a genuine curiosity for and interest in the school bag’s (educational) place particularly in the German context.

The study is thus deeply rooted in the data material which consists of photographs of the contents of 16 German satchels provided by middle-school pupils. The contents were unpacked, carefully arranged and photographed by helpers at the school. The resulting photographs are carefully analysed alongside a description of exterior appearances of schoolbags as well as the material context of the classroom based on results from earlier research, both by the involved researchers and others.

Findings show that the function of the schoolbags exceeds their obvious transportation purposes, and that they are a complex, entangled object in the construction of “schooling” and “the pupil”. At the same time they contain anchors to the private family lives of the pupils, and such time that are intimate and deeply personal. The findings call for more research on invisible items within education and the role they play when transporting not only pens and paper but norms and values.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Scottish Educational Research Association , 2022.
National Category
Social Sciences Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-56656OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-56656DiVA, id: diva2:1718877
Conference
SERA Conference 2022. Reconnecting, educational research, policy and practice.
Available from: 2022-12-13 Created: 2022-12-13 Last updated: 2023-09-06Bibliographically approved

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Jobér, AnnaBillmayer, Jakob

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