Note: Due to low participation, we regret to inform you that the Pre-Nera Conference "Literacy and Social Inequality" in Trondheim 3.-4. March 2009 has been cancelled.

Literacy and Social Inequality (3 ECTS credits)

Literacy and social inequality are tightly interwoven. Variation in knowledge and competencies in reading, writing and communication, represents a major source for inequalities in living conditions, educational attainment, cultural capital and participation in various social fields. But, how do we understand the links between traditional and new inequalities, and literacy in the Nordic societies today?

The course focuses upon general approaches in research on social inequality, literacy and cultural capital, including qualitative and quantitative approaches. The lectures will come from different research fields and professions, focusing on Nordic Studies. The course is based upon active participation from all participants.

The pre-conference will take place at NTNU, Dragvoll on March 3 and 4 and is open to ph.d. students who register for the conference. There are no extra fee for the pre-conference. The pre-conference language is English. There will be a limit of 25 participants. Deadline for registration is 31. January. Registration and information about the pre-conference is available via executive officer Siri Schive Hjelde, NTNU at

Examination form: Paper (5-10 pages) and a 15 minutes seminar presentation based upon the paper. The paper should be sent by e-mail to Siri Scive Hjelde no later than 13. February. Comments on the paper will be e-mailed to the participants before 1. April. Hand-outs for the presentation should be prepared by the participants. Distribution of the paper is optional.

The pre-conference will count as a ph.d.-course (3 ECTS credits). The NTNU Graduate School of Research on Educational Governance and Social inequality is hosting institution for the course (for more information, see ). A course certificate will be issued by the Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management, NTNU, on acceptance of the presentation and the paper.

Local Coordinators:
Professor Gunn Imsen (Department of Education)
professor Håkon Leiulfsrud (Department of Sociology and Political Science)
coordinator Siri Schive Hjelde (NTNU Graduate School of Educational Governance and Social Inequality)


Time Schedule

Tuesday 3. March 2009, aud. D12, building10, level 4, Dragvoll
09:00-09:05:   Opening - Professor Håkon Leiulfsrud
09:05-10:05:   "To develop a new school curriculum and national tests - a text anthropological approach" -
Professor Kjell Lars Berge
10:05-10:15:   Break (coffee will be served)
10:15-11:15:   "Digital Cleavages" - Associate Professor Berit Skog
11:15-12:00:   Lunch
12:00-14:00:   Presentations (6 presentations)*
14:00-14:15:   Break (coffee will be served)
14:15-16:15:   Presentations (6 presentations)
Wednesday 4. March 2009, aud. DL 34 ("Låven"), Dragvoll
09:00-10:00:   "Literacy and social inequality - new and old cleavages" - Professor Håkon Leiulfsrud
10:00-11:00:   Presentations (3 presentations)
11:00-11:15:   Break (coffee will be served)
11:15-12:15:   Presentations (3 presentations)
12:15-13:00:   Lunch
13:00-14:20:   Presentations (4 presentations)
14:20-14:35:   Break (coffee will be served)
14:35-15:35:   Presentations (3 presentations)
15:35-16:00:   Close

 * Detailed programme for the presentations will be announced after 13. February 2009.

  The Lectures

Professor Kjell Lars Berge: "To develop a new school curriculum and national tests – a text anthropological approach"

  Nettsted e-post
  From 2003 - 2007 I took part in the collective work developing of a new curriculum in Norwegian schools. The curriculum is based on the idea of basic competencies, or literacies, such as writing and reading. In my presentation I will present an approach to how the development of the new literacy based curriculum may be studied from the perspective of a participant and observer (for example as a researcher interested in understanding how the notion of ”literacy” is implemented in the curriculum). I will also present and discuss how the literacy based curriculum may be studied from a local (for example the discussions between researchers and administrators solving problems pragmatically) as well as a global perspective (for example the implementation of the DeSeCo ideas developed by the OECD). Especially interesting for a researchers was and is the political, practical and intellectual challenges in the meetings between politicians, researchers and administrators.

The methodological approach I am advocating may be called a text anthropological or sociotextlogical. The basic premises are the following: All written or oral activities should be understood as meaning negotiation and meaning creation. All written or oral activities should be understood based on oral and/or written utterances and texts that are available. All written or oral activities should be understood from the perspective of the active and more or less competent participant.

Associate Professor Berit Skog: "Digital Cleavages"

  Nettsted e-post
  The departure of this lecture is challenges associated with digital literacy. The main focus will be upon how this affects children and the younger generations in terms of digital competence and capital, the relative importance of new media in their every day lives, and social inequalities associated with the use of new technology. Special emphasis will be given to the use of social networks (Facebook) and mobile phones in terms of use, functions and language. Furthermore, the role of data games will be introduced. What competence do younger people achieve from their participation on these digital arenas? This question will be discussed in light of questionnaire studies among children and teen-ages, and the issue of gender, age and social class will focused.

"Professor Håkon Leiulfsrud: “Literacy and social inequality – new and old cleavages."

  The presentation gives and introduction to traditional understanding of literacy and educational capital in standard sociological and educational science theories and models ranging from Bernstein to Bourdieu. Given the shifts from an industrial society to a post-industrial social order, heavily based upon information processing, it can be asked whether this represents a new epoch, or more of the same, in terms of class and social stratification. With increased demand on project organisation and “self programming”, as opposed to just being “programmed” in pedagogy, we may expect to find a school favouring children with a middle class or academic background. How this kind of empowerment strategies of pupils enables or disables children in old or new ways will be discussed.
  Literature (in Norwegian) on the new curriculum
  Berge, K.L. 2005b. "Skriving som grunnleggende ferdighet og som nasjonal prøve - ideologi og strategier". I: Det nye norskfaget. Fagbokforlaget: Bergen. 161-188.
  Berge, Kjell Lars. 2007. "Hvorfor ble de nasjonale prøvene i skriving et mislykket prosjekt? Historien om et kvalitetssikringsnotat rettet til statsråd Kristin Clemet". I: S. Tveit (red.) Elevvurdering i skolen. Grunnlag for kulturendring. Universitetsforlaget: Oslo. 245-248.
  Berge, K.L; Evensen, L.S. & Hertzberg, F. 2003. "Utvikling av nasjonale skrivetester – noen motforestillinger". Brev til statsråd Kristin Clemet 12.2.02. Trykt i Norsklæreren. 3.2003. 50-53.
  Berge, K. L. 2007. "Grunnleggende om grunnleggende ferdigheter". I: På vei mot Kunnskapsløftet. Cappelen Akademisk Forlag: Oslo. 228-250.
  Literature (in English) on the study of subject oriented texts with a text antropological approach
  Berge, K. L. 2007. ”The Rhetoric of Science in Practice: Experiences from Nordic Research on Subject-Oriented Texts and Text Cultures”. I: Language and Discipline Perspectives on Academic Discourse. Cambridge Scholars: Cambrigd
  Literature (in Norwegian) on digital literacy and social inequality
  Skog, B. (2008): "Fra World of Warcraft til You Tube. Bruk av dataspill og nettsamfunn blant deltagere på The Gathering".
Skog, B. (2007): "Sms – et nytt språk?" i Nordhaug.O. et al: "Retorikk, samtid og samfunn". Kap 4., forlag1
Skog, B.: (2006): "Sms-flørtere, Mobilposører og Mobilblottere" ISS-rapport, NTNU
  Literature (in English) on the study of literacy and new and old social cleavages
  Will be available later.

Webmaster: Kjell T. Nesgaard Last updated: 06.01.2009