NERA Network 14 – Multicultural Educational Research Minutes from network meeting 2013

NERA Network 14 – Multicultural Educational Research
Minutes from network meeting 7 March 2013

Anh-Dao Tran, Birgitte Gade Brander, Christian Horst, Christina Rodell Olgac, Hanna Ragnarsdóttir, Johannes Lunneblad, Joron Pihl, Kerstin von Brömssen, Lars Anders Kulbrandstad, Margaret Obondo, Robert Berman, Sandra Fylkesnes, Thor Ola Engen.


  1. Conceptual and theoretical development in the network.
  2. Practical matters:
    • Preconference in 2014.
    • Convenors for 2014 (NERA will be in Lillehammer).
  3. Other matters.

The meeting was opened with at short introduction and overview by the present convenor, Hanna Ragnarsdóttir, School of Education, University of Iceland. The network received 28 abstracts for NERA 2013 (four of these were submitted in a symposium, other abstracts for paper sessions) and one poster. 27 of the abstracts were accepted. Very few papers were cancelled. The network organized seven full sessions, most of these with four papers each. All sessions were well visited. At most sessions about 20-30 persons were present and a number of good exchanges took place.

Conceptual and theoretical development in the network
After a short introduction of the convenor, Hanna Ragnarsdóttir, the participants reflected on the network preconference held the day before, the main concepts of intersectionality and superdiversity and the discussion that followed. The participants agreed that it had been a useful discussion which should be continued in the next preconference. The idea of inviting Gert Biesta as a presenter in the preconference was also supported and that the preconference could partly focus on his writings. In addition, another topic was suggested for the preconference next year: Second language educationwhere the participants agreed that research is needed, as well as linking research to school subjects. The participants discussed the situation in all countries that second language education is generally not a study discipline, neither in teacher training nor as a university subject. In relation to this, the importance of looking critically at changes in curricula was noted.

The name of the network was discussed and whether this needs to change. As the network receives many papers and has full sessions each year at NERA, some participants saw no need to change this. However, a suggestion was made to change it to Teaching and learning in multicultural societies. The participants decided to continue this discussion on the internet.

Practical matters:

Preconference in 2014
The participants decided to develop further the ideas discussed in the preconference and earlier in this meeting (see above).

Convenor and co-convenor for 2014
Since NERA 2011, the network has decided to work with two convenors each year: A principal convenor from the country which hosts the NERA conference and a co-convenor from the country which will host the NERA conference the following year. This year only Hanna Ragnarsdottir was convenor as the co-convenor appointed from Norway was not active.

In 2014 the NERA conference will be held in Lillehammer, Norway. A convenor from Norway was appointed, Thor Ola Engen and his colleagues in Hamar (Lars Anders Kulbrandstad and others). The network also needs to appoint a co-convenor from Sweden as NERA 2015 is planned in Gothenburg.

Other matters
No other matters were discussed.

Network convenor 2012-13
Hanna Ragnarsdóttir.


NERA Network 14 – Multicultural Educational Research Minutes from preconference 2013

NERA Network 14 – Multicultural Educational Research
Minutes from preconference 6 March 2013
The preconference was advertised on the network website, , in the conference program for NERA 2013 and the agenda was also sent to the network members.

Both presentations introduced and discussed issues of diversity and how to approach diversity within and across categories. The presenters opened a discussion on how we as researchers can approach this complex reality and multiplicity, and which methodological approaches are possible in addressing diversity. Superdiversity was introduced as a summary term and an analytical category.  Intersectionality was introduced as an intercategorial term, implying diversity within and across categories and the intersection of multiple inequalities. It was noted that we need categories for research but that we need to be aware of the temporality of categories. Also, that we need a framework which we can understand and which is helpful.

Various authors and writings which can be useful for a continuing discussion were introduced in the presentations, and additionally, these books on intersectionality were mentioned:

Lutz, Vivar & Supik (2011), Framing intersectionality and

Bhopal & Preston (2012), Intersectionality and Race in Education.

It was also suggested that writing a conceptual paper based on the topics of the preconference would be useful.

In conclusion, the participants decided to continue this discussion in the next NERA preconference of network 14 (planned in Lillehammer in 2014) and look for examples of research or empirical studies where the concepts of intersectionality and superdiversity have been applied in order to understand how intersectionality works in empirical research. Also, it was suggested that inviting Gert Biesta as a presenter on the topic of complexity theory at the next preconference would be useful for continuing this discussion.

The slides from the presentations will be available on the website.

Participants in the preconference were:

Christian Horst, DPU, University of Aarhus
Christina Rodell Olgaç, Södertörn University
Fred Dervin, University of Helsinki
Frédérique Brossard Børhaug, NLA Høgskolen Bergen
Halla Jónsdóttir, University of Iceland
Hanna Ragnarsdóttir, University of Iceland
Hille Janhonen-Abruquah, University of Helsinki
Johannes Lunneblad, University of Gothenburg
Kerstin von Brömssen, University of Gothenburg
Kirsten Lauritsen, University College of Nord-Trondelag (HiNT)
Lars Anders Kulbrandstad, Hedmark University College
Robert Berman, University of Iceland
Thor Ola Engen, Hedmark University College

Network 14 Multicultural Educational Research Preconference 2013

Preconference 6 March, 2013, 14-17.
Diversity, superdiversity and intersectionality
Location: University of Iceland, School of Education, Room K-205.

The preconference will be organised in two sessions. In each session two articles related to the topic of the preconference will be introduced followed by a general discussion on their content.


14-14.10 Welcome: Network convenor Hanna Ragnarsdóttir.
14.10-15.30  Session I. Introduction: Christian Horst (powerpoint slides)

Articles for discussion:
Vertovec, S. (2007). Super-diversity and its implictions. Ethnic and Racial Studies. Vol. 30. No. 6, s. 1024-1054.
McCall, L. (2005). The Complixity of intersectionality. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Vol. 30. No. 31, s. 1771-1800.

15.30-15.40 Coffee break.

15.40-17 Session II. Introduction: Kerstin von Brömssen (powerpoint slides)

Articles for discussion:
Phoenix, Ann (2009) De-colonising practices: negotiating narratives from racialized and gendered experiences of education. Race, Ethnicity and Education,  Vol. 12, No 1, March 2009, s. 101-114.
Walby, Syliva, Armstrong, Jo & Strid, Sofia (2012) Intersectionality: Multiple Inequalities in Social Theory. Socoiolgy, Vol. 46, Nr 2, s. 224-240.

Short history of the network 14: Multicultural Educational Research.

The initiative to the network: Multicultural Educational Research was taken by Joron Pihl, Oslo University College, Department of Teacher Education, who organised a seminar at Gardemoen November 13th, 2000, and founded  “The Nordic Network for Multicultural Educational Research”.  This seminar was supported by a grant from the Research Council of Norway, division for Culture and Society and led soon after to an application to NFPF/NERA for membership as a network. For a brief summary of this meeting see:

This initiative responded no doubt to unfulfilled needs among educational researchers in the Nordic countries who worked with ethnic diversity in education. Since 2001 the network has been part of NERA and has developed through numerous presentations in network sessions and regularly organized pre-conferences. The co-operation and development of the network has taken place by researchers volunteering in the organization.

Due to the reorganization of the web site (2010-11) a lot of information from the past years has been lost. We are now trying to rebuild the site with memberlist, discussion room etc.

Network 14: Multicultural Educational Research 2012

Preconference 8th of March 2012: 10.00 – 12:00. Room: A 200

1. Welcome. Information about the network and the pre-conference.  Hanna Ragnarsdottir and Christian Horst.

2. Theme 1: Education and social justice: Diversity and intersectionality. Hanna Ragnarsdottir, University of Iceland. Chair: Frederique Brossard Børhaug. (Presentation: 25 minutes; discussion: 15 minutes).

3. Theme 2: Multicultural Education – a concept under transformation? Kristin Skinstad Van Der Kooij, University of Oslo. Chair: Kerstin von Brömssen (Presentation: 25 minutes; discussion: 15 minutes).

4. Ending of preconference: Wishing a good conference this year and asking for themes for the network. Hanna Ragnarsdottir; Christian Horst

Minutes from the preconference 8th March 2012

Minutes from the preconference 8th March 2012

The preconference had two presentations (see program above).

1. Education and social justice: Diversity, intersectionality and multiplicity. Presentation by Hanna Ragnarsdóttir.

2. Multicultural Education – a concept under transformation? Presentation by Kristin Skinstad Van Der Kooij.

From different positions both presentations questioned the concept of ‘multicultural educational research’, especially addressing ‘multi-culture’. The presenters opened a discussion about which concepts and understandings could be fruitful in order to examine diversity and difference, without referring to ‘the other’ as a problem and without engaging with the embedded essentialism in the concept of culture.

On the other hand there was an intention to maintain a focus on what is traditionally understood in terms of ethnic identity markers, social justice and power relations.

The discussion has implications for the name of our network. Is the name ‘multicultural’ overworn and should we change the name?

There was a vivid and engaging discussion bringing in concepts from different researchers and philosophers. It was suggested not to be so afraid of concepts, may be, but to be careful to position and unfold the concepts you use in different contexts.

The discussion remained open at the end of the session, but it was agreed that the discussion should continue and it was proposed to arrange a symposium with on this issue in Iceland 2013 (Conceptualizing and researching difference/diversity). The discussion was to be continued at the network meeting Friday 9th March 2012 (see minute from the network meeting).

The network had this year (2012) 9 sessions and 27 presentations.

Minutes from the network meeting 09.03.2012

Minutes from the network meeting 09.03.2012
The meeting opened up with at short presentation of the network by the present convenor, Christian Horst from Department of Education, ARTS, Aarhus University.

Convenor and co-convenor. In Jyväskylä, NERA 2011, it was decided to work with two convenors: A principal convenor and a co-convenor. The principal convenor will be from the country which hosts the NERA conference. The co-convenor will come from the country which will host the NERA conference the following year.

In 2013 the conference will be held in Iceland. Hanna Ragnarsdóttir from the University of Iceland will take over as convenor in 2012-13, when this conference is over. In 2014 Lillehammer in Norway will host the NERA-conference and a person from Norway will be appointed as co-convenor in order to become convenor in 2014.

Themes from the meeting. At the meeting two major issues were interwoven in the discussion: a) an organizational issue about preconference, symposia etc. and b) the further development of our network (concepts and theories). Below we have separated the two issues in order to come up with a more concise and short account of the discussion.

About preconferences and symposia. It was decided to continue to arrange pre-conferences. The normal network sessions are so pressed that it is quite impossible to engage in more profound discussions about research and theory in the field.

The preconference offers this possibility. However, participants will have to realize that they will have to find the money (extra night in a hotel, food etc.) in their own institutions. NERA cannot fund us. This could be related to the organization of symposia during the conference and discussions in the network meeting. To support this development further a blog or a discussion forum could be established in relation to the home site. Together these possibilities could further more fundamental discussions about the field(s) we research.

For NERA 2013 in Iceland we will organize a preconference. As we anyway will have to arrive the day before, it gives us the possibility to arrange a late afternoon-early evening session on a sandwich, and continue in the morning (form hrs.10-12) before the conference opens. To this end we could choose some common texts in relation to presentations, but with ample time to continue our discussion. There was a general agreement to develop this concept. The convenors will work on this and also invite others to participate.

It was further mentioned if we should develop common projects, initiatives etc. with reference to experiences from the special issue in Intercultural education.

About concepts and theories. The discussion brought forward a number of concepts, what they signified and how they were founded epistemologically and what type of discourse the different concepts related to, i.e. multicultural, intercultural, diversity, intersectionality, multiplicity, complexity, adapted education, discrimination, anti-racist education, social justice, equality and equal opportunity welfare state, international studies, inclusion, exclusion, transnational, globalization, glocalization and education, plural(istic) society, critical, (probably some more concepts which we failed to take down, sorry – please add up)

–          Is it possible to combine some concepts with others in a fruitful way? (Please note how the listing of concepts (and possible combinations of concepts) can point to common (rather wide) foci on certain aspects of diversity, multiplicity, differences).

The discussion took different directions. One position was to open up for being recognized in a wider international context, relating to networks under ECER, e.g.  with the name:  “Social justice and intercultural education” or a similar one: “Social justice and education in the multicultural society.”  Is it a good idea, or is it a problem to share a name or align closely with a name in ECER?

Another position was to be more open – both conceptually – and in relation to other NERA networks: The concepts: “Social justice” and “Diversity” are not used concepts in other networks in NERA.

The concept could include understandings like intersectionality embracing different social and cultural identity markers (diversity), and equality, equal opportunity, anti-racism, citizenship, democracy etc. can be identified in the understanding of ‘social justice’. The combination of the two concepts could easily be brought in relation to different organizational fields or levels of education: representation in different subjects, in legislation, in curriculum, in school organization, teacher education etc.

Would this invite other presenters to our network? Would we open up ourselves and do presentations in other networks? How to counteract conceptual confinement? Could there be joint-networks meetings (curriculum, gender, diverse learners, early childhood, school development etc.)? But this certainly requires more administration.

Pros and cons on both perspectives were discussed but without coming to conclusions.

Thirdly, it was stressed that we should not lose focus on power-relations and how the nation state dominates the general cultural and social space (national identity and whiteness). This socio-historical position structures the different social fields (including education) within and against which ethnic minorities are positioned. The presentation of this conference’s main theme “Everyday life” gave impressions of a very white everyday life (which was probably not intended, and what does this then tell us?).

The discussion will continue in Iceland 2013 and if possible in a coming discussion space on our home site.

Frédérique Brossard Børhaug & Christian Horst

Minutes from the meeting in Network 14: Multicultural Educational Research. March 2011

Minutes from the meeting in Network 14: Multicultural Educational Research. March 2011
The following questions were discussed:

1. What types of presentations at NERA?
2. Should we continue the network?
3. Should we reformulate the network?
4. How should we cooperate between the conferences? And how should the network be organized?

Ad.1.  Sessions and abstracts.
It was decided to continue to give priority to presentations of ongoing research, ph.d.- presentations and ph.d.- projects in progress.

Ad.2. and 3: Should we continue the network/ should we reformulate the network.
We agreed that the network should be continued, but that we need a more substantial discussion about educational research in ethnic complex contexts: the concept culture can easily engage with a static perspective which pays to little attention to other aspects of diversity and different forms of hybridity.

Ad.4. How should we cooperate between the conferences? And how should the network be organized?

Two convenors: A principal convenor and a co-convenor.
The principal convenor will be from the country where the next NERA conference will be organized.
The person who is the co-convenor will come from the country which will organize the NERA conference the following year.  This person will then take over being the next principal convenor. The principal convenor will in this way ‘introduce’ the coming convenor to the work, which then is shared between the countries.
The next year’s (2012) conference will be in Copenhagen. Christian Horst is convenor 2011-12.
In 2013 the conference will be held in Iceland. We will ask Hanna Ragnarsdottir from the University of  Iceland to be co-convenor in 2011-12, and convenor in 2012-13.

Cooperation between the conferences.
It seems to become more difficult to meet as our universities tend to limit the resources for travelling.

The question was raised if it was possible to meet once in Helsinki in autumn to discuss – have a workshop – on the question raised about the profile/name of the network, see above, –  or if we should try to plan a preconference in relation to next year’s conference?

To prepare such a meeting some of us will need to produce working papers looking into the issues in the field as a basis for the discussion:

–    overview of how the different concepts related to the field of ‘multicultural education’ are in use;

–    some introduction to the discussions in the field

–    are we addressing the main issues in the field?

–    the members of the network should contact research institutions in their country which do research within the field of education in ethnic complex contexts.

Kristin Skinstad van der Kooij; Christian Horst