University of Oulu

Maija Lanas, Eva Bendix Petersen & Kristiina Brunila (2022) The discursive production of misbehaviour in professional literature, Critical Studies in Education, 63:3, 355-370, DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2020.1771604

The discursive production of misbehaviour in professional literature

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Author: Lanas, Maija1; Bendix, Eva2; Brunila, Kristiina3
Organizations: 1Department of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark
3Department of Education, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-12-03


Bad student behaviour is argued to be one of the major challenges for schools today. In response to the challenge, there is a strong body of literature aiming at fixing student behaviour. In this paper, we look into professional knowledge discourses regarding ‘bad student behaviour,’ focusing on one national context, Finland, to explore how disturbing behaviour is discursively established in the professional literature for teachers seeking help with challenging student incidents. We analyse expert sources that are readily available for Finnish teachers (n = 19), looking at what fields of science are represented, whose voice is represented, how the problem is defined, and where it is located. We conclude that the professional discourse about disturbing behaviour in Finland places the problem on the individual child or family while also silencing the individuals in question and portraying them as deficient. Furthermore, the sources produce a decontextualised notion of behaviour and describe it as either acceptable or unacceptable, completely overlooking any societal, historical or cultural aspects of behaviour or other mitigating circumstances. The findings resonate with research findings from other international contexts.

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Series: Critical studies in education
ISSN: 1750-8487
ISSN-E: 1750-8495
ISSN-L: 1750-8487
Volume: 63
Issue: 3
Pages: 355 - 370
DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2020.1771604
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © 2020 Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Critical Studies in Education on 03 Jun 2020, available online: