Konkurrencestatens dannelsesidealer: En erkendelsesteoretisk undersøgelse

Janus Isdan Maigaard

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis is spurred by the fact that I observe the current education policy and the education science, which contributes to this, as mainly based on the idea of the competition state as an ontological fact. I ask for reflection in relation to the epistemological basic assumptions which are embraced, and criticize the reluctant dismissal of the necessary normative base for education policy. Thus, I phrase my thesis statement in a value-oriented way, as trying to examine the key ideas that shape the competition states educational ideals. I examine this through an epistemological analysis of the intellectual history and the ontological conceptions which are constitutive for the idea of the competition state and its education policy. Therefore, I analyze Ove Kaj Pedersen's books Konkurrencestaten and Markedsstaten, which have been the formulating basis for the competitive state idea in a Danish context. Subsequently, Niklas Luhmann's systems theory is investigated, as several of the educational scholars that can be said to have a central role in articulating the education policy of the competitive state today are working within this theoretical approach. Luhmann and Pedersen's theories draw their common historical inspiration primarily from Talcot Parsons, and the structural functionalism is displayed as a link for their basic epistemological assumptions.Then I examine the critical potential in relating the consequences of Luhmann's system-oriented observations to the American philosopher Robert Nozick’s anarcho-capitalistic libertarianism. In a way they have a common understanding of freedom, although Nozick’s is normative in its base whereas it is merely a descriptive consequence in Luhmann´s theoretical apparatus. I argue that this understanding of freedom has a lot to say in relation to why the classical idealistic thought of education with its understanding of formation and learning as something that affects and shapes the human being on a radical level, is not legitimate today. Subsequently, it is analyzed how the epistemological basis for the unspoken educational ideals of competitive states are articulated by educational researchers and through the learning concepts they conceptualize today. Finally, I discus why the education system cannot relate to the classic idealistic idea of education and deal with normativity. I will do this on the basis of two paradoxes which I observe as central inrelation to this: First of all, that the education system cannot handle the pedagogical paradox based on its epistemological basis and the present concept of freedom. And secondly, that educational science is not observed as science and therefore has legitimacy problems.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages87