Distribution of worries: Interdisciplinary meetings as welfare technology

2017 Social Transformations and Education Research Hub Seminar Series

The “worry conversation” is an interdisciplinary meeting used by Danish schools and related welfare institutions. Various professionals are invited to a worry conversation if the teachers or another professional worries about a student’s wellbeing or learning. This session will begin by unpacking worry conversations in the case of a girl in 7th grade. The focus of the analysis is how “the worry” is formulated and who is attributed responsibility for the problem and thus the possibility to act. I suggest that professionals “worry” when they locate the problem outside their own professional field. The worry is not formulated as a professional problem, or an educational problem in the case of the school, because the school thereby would exclude other disciplines from describing and handling the problem. Using the concept of “worrying” creates, though, the risk that the meeting solves the school’s problem but not the student’s problem.

Hanne Knudsen is Associate Professor at Department of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark. In her research she analyzes how new social technologies, practices and discourses in educational settings put basic categories like citizen, profession, responsibility, community at stake.