Becomings of ‘the disturbing pupil’ in Danish classrooms

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskningpeer review


In Denmark, recent years’ school debate has entailed a focus on ‘disturbing pupils’; a problem discussed as related to inclusion policy in school, and to the presence of pupils diagnosed with ADHD and autism. The debate has purported a strong focus on Classroom management as well as an interest in the biological reasons for the behavior of diagnosed children. In this paper, I explore the phenomenon ‘the disturbing pupil’ in schools as ongoing becomings of identities in processes intertwined with materiality. Instead of regarding this problem as questions of a week discipline or biologically determined characters, the attention is drawn to the processes and workings of a materiality of classrooms. Theoretically, the paper seeks to develop an understanding of ‘the disturbing pupil’ by drawing on inspiration from post-approaches as new-materialism and ANT/STS (Coole & Frost 2010). Rather than understanding materiality as something outside or next to practice, the analysis will dig into how materiality forms a sort of intentionality, shaping ‘the disturbing pupil’ as part of the classroom. Thus the paper makes an effort to rethink theory of practice (Bourdieu 1977) and the sovereignty of the human actor. The paper draws on a study of professional knowledge and practice concerning children, regarded as ‘disturbing’ in school (Brodersen 2019). The material stems from an ethnographic fieldwork: Observations focused on classroom practices and materiality. The purpose of the analysis is two-fold. Drawing on new-materialism and post-human thinking it offers an alternative understanding of ‘the disturbing pupil’ as entangled with continuing establishing of the classroom, and, further, to rethink theory of practice. The analysis wishes to display how analysis drawing on new-materialism can develop a new understanding of a well-established pedagogical ‘problem, ‘the disturbing pupil’. Rather than a ‘stranger’- a problem coming from outside of the school - the analysis shows how disturbances are built into classrooms; continuously being shaped through a flow upheld by a diverse entanglement of different actors. As it follows from this analysis, professional knowledge cannot be perceived as an individual, human and intellectual capacity, but in plural, as entanglements of things, bodies and actions in specific settings. In the Nordic countries, school policy and school debate has been strongly concerned with pupils’ performances in international comparative measurement-systems. The intensified focus on ‘best practice’ in teacher-work that has followed, is also concerned with coping with ‘the disturbing pupil’, which is perceived as a major obstacle for performance in classrooms. By comprehending and analyzing this ‘problem’ with inspiration of new-materialism, this paper offers a critical perspective into discussions on teacher practice and professionalism, and an alternative view of schools. Bourdieu, P. (1977) Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge University Press. Brodersen, M. (2019) Forstyrret og forstyrrende. Analyser af velfærdsarbejdets viden om elever, som skolen har vanskeligheder med. Ph.d. diss., Roskilde University. Coole, D. & S. Frost (eds.) (2010) New materialisms, ontology, agency, and politics. Duke University Press.
Publikationsdato5 mar. 2020
StatusUdgivet - 5 mar. 2020
BegivenhedNERA 2020: Rethinking the futures of education in the Nordic countries - Turku University, Turku, Finland
Varighed: 4 mar. 20206 mar. 2020


KonferenceNERA 2020
LokationTurku University


  • Læring, pædagogik og undervisning
  • Folkeskole
  • Professional knowledge
  • Samarbejde lærere/pædagoger
  • metodologi
  • Børn og unge