Crafting the English welfare state— interventions by Birmingham Local Education Authorities, 1948–1963

Posted on

Christian Ydesen, Associate Professor at the University of Aalborg and current IASH-SPS Visiting Fellow, will give a talk as part of the SPSS Social Policy seminar series.

Discussant: Mark Wong, PhD student Social Policy


2 March 2016
3-4.30 pm
Medical School, Teviot – G.16 Seminar Room – Doorway 4


The presentation will throw light on the range of education professionals and their interventions against deviance understood as the ‘problem child’ or the ‘ineducable child’. I argue that these interventions played a central role in successfully establishing schools as social administrators in England during the constitutive years of English welfare state formation. Using Birmingham local education administration as an empirical and historical case, the influential Children Acts of 1948 and 1963 serve to demarcate the period examined. The theoretical framework is drawn from Bourdieu and Wacquant’s concept of state, with the key concept being ‘state-crafting’. The article contributes to knowledge about the imaginaries, and the manufacturing and managing of ‘the public good’—understood as a referent for modern governing—of the English welfare state.

The high-stakes sorting of children into remedial education

Posted on

We welcome our newest member, Christian Ydesen, University of Aalborg and IASH-SPS Visiting fellow, who will discuss his paper on:

The high-stakes sorting of children into remedial education at the municipality of Frederiksberg from 1930-1943, based on standardised intelligence testing


24th of February, at 12:00
in conference room 2.15, CMB



His paper investigates the rise of educational psychology in Denmark from the 1920s onward, and it is the very first case of high-stakes standardised intelligence tests being institutionalised and systematically applied in the Danish public school system. A clear high-stakes element can be discerned in this case. Intelligence testing was a significant component in the sorting and documenting of children, specifically in the selection of “disabled” bodies, transferred from “normal school” into “remedial school”. The institutionalised practice of intelligence testing at Frederiksberg culminated in 1934 with the employment of the first educational psychologist in Scandinavia, Henning Emil Meyer (1885-1967). Because of Meyer’s energetic influence, the educational psychology practice at Frederiksberg came to function as a role model for establishing such practices countrywide in the ensuing years. The Frederiksberg case displays a complex and somewhat paradoxical course of events leading up to the embedding of high-stakes standardised intelligence tests – events that include international, national, and local dimensions. Temporally, the case treats the practice of employing high-stakes intelligence tests at Frederiksberg in the period between 1930 when Meyer began his educational psychology work at Frederiksberg, and 1943 when Henning Meyer, a Jew, fled to Sweden in response to Nazi pogroms in Denmark.

A paper will be circulated few days in advance of meeting , so as to allow more time for discussion – due to room booking restrictions, the meeting will last for an hour 12:00- 13:00.

We would love to see as many of you there as possible!

Presenting a research project application: Shaping a Global Education Space – A Comparative Analysis of the OECD’s Role in Education, 1958–2020

Posted on

Happy new year!

We’re happy to announce that our research group will be joined by Dr Christian Ydesen, Associate Professor at the Department for Learning and Philosophy at University of Aalborg, who is currently Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities.

He will be speaking on 27th January (1-2 pm, IASH) on a topic that might be of interest to many of you:

Presenting a research project application: Shaping a Global Education Space – A Comparative Analysis of the OECD’s Role in Education, 1958–2020


The importance of attracting external funding in research is on the rise as a global trend. This development holds true in terms of career management, securing proper time for research and in terms of university funding. The purpose of this talk is two-fold. Firstly, I will take the audience into the very engine room of writing a research application. In this respect I will pass on my experiences gathered from writing a research project application to the Danish research council which was submitted last autumn. Secondly, I will present the academic content of the application with the ambition of getting feedback for further development of refinement of the application in the event that it is unsuccessful in the first round making its chances of success higher in the second round in 2016.

Venue: Venue: The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, The University of Edinburgh, 2 Hope Park Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9NW, UK

About the event:


Phd presentation: The relation of the “Social” and the “Self”

Posted on

Meeting of 26 November 2015

Mark Wong, final year PhD student in Social Policy discussed aspects of his research on socially withdrawn young people in Hong Kong and Scotland.

How Should Universities Be Funded?

Posted on

13 November 2015, open event by the Ethics Forum


  • Rob Henthorn, Vice President Education of NUS Scotland
  • Prof. Sheila Riddell, Professor of Inclusion and Diversity / Director of CREID at the University of Edinburgh
  • Tracey Slaven, Deputy Secretary, Strategic Planning, University of Edinburgh

From data, to analysis, to argument: how to make theory work

Posted on

Meeting on 29 October 2015

In our meeting in October we discussed about how to link theoretical resources to the analysis of field data. This idea emerged from collective discussions with some Phd students working in education policy topics in the School, who are currently faced with mountains of data and a range of theoretical tools to choose from.

We had a lively debate among experienced scholars and Phd students reporting on how they’re facing these issues in their own work – lot’s of interesting suggestions!

Workshop: Education, Citizenship and Justice

Posted on

The Just World Institute and Education and Society Research Group are delighted to announce a workshop event with Prof Rob Reich (Stanford): ‘Education, Citizenship, and Justice’

Thursday 26 March 2015

9.00am-12.00pm, Common Room, Sixth floor, Chrystal Macmillan Building, George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LD

9.00 am – 9.15 am Coffee/welcome

9.15 am – 10.30 am – Prof Rob Reich, ‘Education, Citizenship, and Justice’

10.30 am – 10.45 am coffee

10.45 am- 12.00 pm Dr Philip Cook, ‘The Just School’

All welcome, please contact if you would like to attend.​

We will be taking Prof. Reich to lunch at 12pm. Colleagues are welcome to join, please let Philip Cook know if you’d like to come to lunch for table booking purposes.

Professor Rob Reich, Stanford University

Tuition fees and higher education funding

Posted on

Meeting on 23 February 2015

1 – 2.30 pm at meeting pod 3, CMB

We’ll be discussing the General Elections and the ongoing debate on tuition fees and higher education funding.


Back to top

© School of Social and Political Science 2016