Difference and Power in Education

Main content

FOMU logo

Research Group Leader:
Associate Professor Marie van der Kloet

Contact information:
Difference and Power in Education
Department of Education
University of Bergen
Christies gate 13
N-5015 Bergen

Tel: +47 55 58 48 46
E-mail: Marie.VanDer.Kloet@uib.no

The research group Difference and Power in Education (FoMU) offers an arena for discussing historically, politically, materially and socially constructed positions of marginality -- and also on turning the lens onto the equally constructed, but often conveniently invisible, workings of the position of dominance. This entails research that explores issues of difference, inclusion, exclusion, structural inequalities, and power, and how these intersect with educational systems, policies and practices.

In other words, our emphasis is on the social imaginaries that both shape and play out in the sphere of education, "the ways people imagine their social existence, how they fit together with others, how things go on between them and their fellows, the expectations that are normally met, and the deeper normative notions and images that underlie these expectations." (Taylor, 2004, pp. 23) [1]   Ideas about self and the world are constructions that create and uphold asymmetrical relationships, be they between social groups, educational institutions or/and policy makers. Thus, we investigate and critique education as a set of institutions that oppress and replicate or magnify other institutional oppressions.



FoMU brings together researchers across disciplines like pedagogy, anthropology, cultural studies, educational policy studies, curriculum studies, psychology, and more, all working with questions within the field of education. Our background and motivation for establishing this inter-disciplinary research group is our shared interest in difference and power in education. Our research projects address a wide range of themes such as:

  1. The educational situation of Roma in Norway
  2. The participation of refugees in higher education
  3. Informal educational structures and practices in Kurdish revolutionary groups
  4. Teaching and learning in prisons
  5. Discourses of race and racialization in Norwegian education
  6. Literacy practices of itinerant teachers in the 19th century Norwegian school
  7. Difference, identity and educational experiences of 2nd generation migrants
  8. Material-discursive practices in the classroom


FoMU researchers primarily build on critical perspectives in both theory and methodology, mainly applying qualitative methods. Working within a critical perspective entails a reflexive approach to our research, considering how the workings of difference and power - socially, politically, materially, historically - affect our own theoretical perspectives, viewpoints and interests, and our positioning as researchers studying education and teaching in an educational institution.


[1] Charles Taylor 2004. Modern social imaginaries. Durtham, NC, Duke University Press.