NAFOL profile: Fredrik Stenhjem Hagen

Fredrik Stenhjem Hagen. photoDifferent understandings of racism in schools

That language is not independent from how we understand the world, is one of the key insights of modern science and philosophy. It has among other things helped us to understand the importance of articulating one’s feelings in order to manage them. This insight has also helped us understand the invisible power relations inherent in language, and how language itself can challenge these.

All my adult life I have worked with language: Both as a teacher and as a fiction writer. Still I am surprised by the importance of language, how it limits us and which opportunities it holds.

The last decade the term racism has often been central in the news cycle. The rhetoric of FRP, Trump’s precedency and the Black Lives Matter movement have all sparked discussions on what racism is and what it is not. These discussions are happening at the same time as the Norwegian school wants a greater focus on anti-racism and citizenship education. In my thesis I examine which understandings of the term racism dominate Norwegian school policy, and how Norwegian pupils understand the term. My hope for the thesis is that it will give insight that will be useful in the further development of antiracist education in Norway.