This is a dissertation about emotions in Social Science teaching. As such it offers a perspective on Social Science didactics that until now has been largely neglected. Some of the most pressing concerns of our time, not least crises related to migration, the welfare state, international law and terrorism, are part of the Swedish upper secondary school subject Social Science (samhällskunskap). But while the Social Science teacher typically tries to resonate with their students in a rationality-oriented way, Katarina Blennow’s ethnographical investigation shows that the Social Science classroom is filled with often unrecognized, suppressed or withheld experiences and feelings of inclusion, exclusion, joy, anger, sorrow and fear.
With the aim to examine what emotions do in the teaching of the school subject Social Science and what the subject Social Science does to emotions, Katarina Blennow uncovers a dissonance between the role emotions are supposed to play in the teaching and the role emotions actually do play.
The examined cases of Social Science teaching seem to suffer from a traditional division between rationality and emotionality that largely has characterized political analysis in the twentieth century. A rapprochement between the students’ lifeworld and the school subject’s disciplinary analysis would benefit from an increased use of the emotional dimension and community of Social Science teaching.