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Research Nieuwenhuis Institute for Educational Research Education in Culture


The Education in Culture research unit examines this complex interplay between education and culture by investigating a wide range of issues concerning upbringing, education and training in formal, non-formal and information settings, mainly from historical, philosophical, theoretical and intercultural perspectives. Our research is interdisciplinary, and uses insights from Pedagogical and Educational Sciences, Historical Sciences, Literary Studies, Philosophy, Sociology, and Psychology. Our areas of expertise include:

National Education systems

Since the establishment of national educational systems in the nineteenth century, schooling has become a global ideal as well as reality for most children. Our studies addressing national education systems include studies into the expansion of primary school systems and regional variations in school systems. Of particular interest is also the emergence of special education, comprehensive school reform, the development of secondary education (including the issue of co-education), vocational education, adult education and the distinction between public and private education. In this context, political debate, legislation and educational practices are examined from national, regional, local and comparative perspectives.

Educational reform and renewal

School is an institution that is difficult to change. We conduct research into innovation ideals and practices in primary, secondary and special education. Research within this theme focuses on innovations in the field of didactics, objectives, the organization of and participation in education, and the relationship between education and the labour market. For example, research is being conducted into progressive education, curriculum innovations such as citizenship education, peace education, parent participation, and policies to reduce the inequality of educational opportunities.

Youth and Children’s Care and Upbringing

Education and cultural transfer have never been confined to schools and classrooms. In our expertise group, research examines youth movements, youth policy, youths’ mental health, youth literature, and youth and media. These studies have, for example, dealt with issues of sexual diversity, ethnicity, migration, national identity and suicide prevention. This research strand has also dealt with the development of scientific knowledge about children at risk in child psychiatry, child psychology and special education studies, next to the development of ideas and practices in youth care.

The Teacher Profession and Educational Expertise

Teachers, the teaching profession and teachers’ competence form a fundamental area of research in history of education and educational sciences in general. Research within this theme addresses fundamental issues such as teacher salaries and teachers’ livelihoods, teacher training, and the changing management culture in secondary education, processes of pedagogy, medicalization and professionalization.

Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning has increasingly been placed on top of political agendas both on the national and the international level. Within this theme, research is being conducted into, for example, the connection between education and the labour market, extracurricular learning, organizational change, and the agency of young people in international contexts.

Last modified:19 March 2021 3.07 p.m.