Differentiation of Students in the Early Danish Welfare State: Professional Entanglements Between Educational Psychologists and Psychiatrists

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Abstract

Developing criteria for measuring intelligence (IQ testing) has been influenced and
determined by many factors in the context from which it arises. Scholars and
practitioners consider it a context-sensitive product created through practices,
negotiations, and entanglements among various agents, groups, interests, ideas, and
values. This article pursues these practices, negotiations, and entanglements, and
examines both the concept of IQ testing and its uses as they manifested themselves in
Denmark between the 1930s and 1960s. This period represents the early years of the
Danish welfare state, a time of social upheaval during which IQ testing was introduced
into the Danish school system, important developments in the field of psychology in
Denmark occurred, and competing ideas about forms of government, eugenics,
heredity, and social equality sparked controversy among stakeholders both within the
education community and the wider society. We argue the practice of IQ testing in the
Danish educational system resulted from various factors, including the increasing
professionalization of the education system, which entailed an increased division of
labor among professional groups; debates reflecting different ideas about eugenics,
heredity, and social equality; the schooling of psychologists in Denmark; psychology as an evolving academic field both nationally and internationally; education psychology as a struggling profession in Denmark; test monopolization; shifting ideas about the use of IQ testing; and, finally, tests themselves as commercial products.
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Detaljer

Developing criteria for measuring intelligence (IQ testing) has been influenced and
determined by many factors in the context from which it arises. Scholars and
practitioners consider it a context-sensitive product created through practices,
negotiations, and entanglements among various agents, groups, interests, ideas, and
values. This article pursues these practices, negotiations, and entanglements, and
examines both the concept of IQ testing and its uses as they manifested themselves in
Denmark between the 1930s and 1960s. This period represents the early years of the
Danish welfare state, a time of social upheaval during which IQ testing was introduced
into the Danish school system, important developments in the field of psychology in
Denmark occurred, and competing ideas about forms of government, eugenics,
heredity, and social equality sparked controversy among stakeholders both within the
education community and the wider society. We argue the practice of IQ testing in the
Danish educational system resulted from various factors, including the increasing
professionalization of the education system, which entailed an increased division of
labor among professional groups; debates reflecting different ideas about eugenics,
heredity, and social equality; the schooling of psychologists in Denmark; psychology as an evolving academic field both nationally and internationally; education psychology as a struggling profession in Denmark; test monopolization; shifting ideas about the use of IQ testing; and, finally, tests themselves as commercial products.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftNordic Journal of Educational History
Volume/Bind5 (1)
Sider (fra-til)73-96
Antal sider23
ISSN2001-7766
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 9 maj 2018
PublikationsartForskning
Peer reviewJa
ID: 259748557