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Biosketch: Dr. Lisa Asp-Onsjö

My research interest is focused on the documentation of pupils in Swedish compulsory school. The concern with documentation of pupils was earlier something that primarily had to do with pupils with special educational needs (SEN). The urge for teachers to write different kind of statements and notes has during the last two decades expanded and is now something that concerns all pupils. These activities of documentation are today a central feature of every day life in contemporary schools in Sweden. The point of departure for these kinds of notations often starts with conversations or dialogs with the pupil or the parents or both. This formalised documentation consists of notes on the pupils’ development and amount of knowledge in all subjects as well as the pupils’ special needs. This means that teachers have to improve their competence on how to do this kind of formalised documentation. It’s claimed in legislation that this form of documentation is done in dialog with and understood by the pupil and the parents, which implies that there is a consensus created. The pupils tend to identify with the way the documentation sketches capacities and personality treats. For the pupil this new order has consequences not only for the ordinary tasks related to skills in different subjects, it also has effects for the whole identity work of the pupil. This development towards an increased urge for documentation is not only a school phenomenon; we can see this in many other sectors of the society. In relation to school it could be understood as a new way of governing the pupils. This new "culture of documentation" or documentality (Steyeri 2003) implies new roles for teacher as well as pupils and parents. With reference to contemporary social theory this tendency is a part of processes that has been labelled as governmentality (Foucault 1991).


2010-2011. Project on behalf of SIS (Statens Institutionsstyrelse) concerning documentation of pupils in relation to learning processes and identity work for young persons in schools within prisons and other closed institutional settings.

2010. Project with the municipality of Gislaved on how pupils with special educational needs are handled and documented in different institutional settings, such as regular classrooms and special schools.

Recent and forthcoming publications

Asp-Onsjö, L. (2010). Special Education in a school for all? [Specialpedagogik i en skola för alla - att arbeta med elever i skolsvårigheter]. In P. Lundgren, R. Säljö, & C. Liberg (Eds.), Bildning - skola - lärande. Stockholm: Natur & Kultur.

Asp-Onsjö, L. (2010). Parental influence concerning pupils with special needs. [Föräldrainflytande och elever i behov av särskilt stöd]. In C. Nilholm & L. Bjar. (Eds), xxxx. Lund. Studentlitteratur.

Andreasson, I. & Asp-Onsjö, L. (2009). Talet om pojkar och flickor i behov av särskilt stöd. I. A. Ahlberg (Red.). Specialpedagogisk forskning - en mångfacetterad utmaning. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Asp-Onsjö, L (2008). Åtgärdsprogram - dokumentation i skolan. [Individual Educational Plans in the Swedish school]. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Asp-Onsjö, L (2006). Individual Education Plan – Document or tool? A Case Study in a Swedish Municipality. "Åtgärdsprogram - dokument eller verktyg? En fallstudie i en kommun". Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis.


Photo Lisa Asp-Onsjö

Lisa Asp-Onsjö

Ph.D., Senior Lecturer

Page Manager: Elin Johansson|Last update: 4/22/2010

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