The Psychosocial in Norwegian Teacher Education in Light of Epistemic Objects and Therapeutic Culture
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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In this article we examine how therapeutic culture disseminates into and affects teacher education in Norway. This is done through a close examination of knowledge practices revolving around the term psychosocial. Based on fieldwork data and drawing on Karin Knorr Cetina’s concept of epistemic objects, we analyse how the psychosocial is practised, taught, and interpreted in a Norwegian primary and secondary teacher education institution. We identify three key epistemic characteristics of the psychosocial: ubiquity, emotional orientation, and self-centeredness. Due to its oscillation between compatibility and friction, the psychosocial is both nurturing and disruptive, intuitive, and demanding, meaningful and alienating. More broadly, the application of the psychosocial in teacher education can be understood in light of the interplay between intellectualisation and emotionalisation processes in modern societies. By providing insight into a previously unexplored area, the article contributes to new understandings of the changing cultural conditions of the teaching profession.