Temanummer i Acta Didactica høst 2020: Controversial societal issues in education and democracy


Many social issues come across as controversial and are under debate in today’s democratic societies. Examples of such issues are migration policies, climate change and terrorism; however, the agenda can rapidly change. This kind of issues typically evoke strong reactions, not least as individuals have competing interest and therefor favour different solutions. The increased polarisation in the political and ideological landscape reinforce the controversies in many of these questions. This has in turn consequences of didactical nature for the practices of education as well as educational theory and research. Education – maybe social studies subjects in particular – has an important function to support pupils in the formation of their own positions in relation to topical, complex and controversial societal issues that lack simple answers or solutions.
The ambition with this thematic issue is to bring together research from different fields about the didactical potentials and challenges in relation to controversial societal issues. We welcome contributions dealing with how controversial issues are being treated within different curriculum subjects at different educational levels, basically in the Scandinavian countries. This means that contributions can concern primary, secondary or higher education from an empirical or theoretical angle. Contributions can be of principal kind or be based on empirical studies and can involve one or several subjects. Through this, we hope that this thematic issue will contribute not only to empirical knowledge about controversial issues in education, but also to theory development by identifying and exploring a “meso level” between single subject didactics and common didactics. The contributions might for example explore concepts with relevance for the whole or part of the educational area, discuss knowledge transfer between fields, comparisons, methodology, subject integration or theory.
If you wish to participate, please send an abstract to the issue editors niclas.lindstrom@umu.se and anna.larsson@umu.se on March 1, 2019, the latest. Abstract (max 500 words) shall include info on background and problem, theory, method and results. You will be noticed before March 15 if your abstract is approved.
Full text deadline: By October 1, 2019, authors must submit a manuscript, which can be in English or in a Scandinavian language. For author guidelines, please see:
Peer review processes will take place during autumn 2019. Publication of the thematic issue is planned to be in autumn 2020.