The Immigrant Has No Proper Name: The disease of consensual democracy within the myth of schooling

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Abstract

In this article I discuss the role of the immigrant in Swedish society and especially how such a role is construed through what I call the myth of schooling, that is, the normalization of an arbitrary distribution of wealth and power. I relate this myth to the idea of consensual democracy as it is expressed through an implicit idea of what it means to be Swedish. I not only critique the processes through which immigrants are discriminated against or excluded from Swedish society but also try to shift the understanding of the conditions under which such exclusion is possible in the first place. Being Swedish is that which the immigrant is not. What I argue and give examples of is that the ‘no name’ immigrant becomes a possibility for democracy to happen when he or she claims his or her presence in the demos, in such a way as to make evident a split in the self-understanding of a purely consensual Swedish democracy. In the article I argue that what is needed in order to go beyond the myth of schooling, is a pedagogy of dissensus contesting the normalizing of an unequal social order by making it contingent.

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