Seeing Like an Inspector: High Modernism and Mētis in Swedish School Inspection


  • Joakim Lindgren Umeå Universitet



School inspection, Governance, Judgement, Knowledge forms, Equivalence


In this article, John C. Scott (1998)’s ideas are used in order to discuss how the Swedish state sees education, as it relies upon its technical and juridical rationality. Drawing on cross-case study data from inspection processes, it is suggested that inspectors’ work involves a dual optic. On the one hand, regular supervision is explicitly conformed to a regulatory evidence-based model derived from ambitions to develop universal, objective, and neutral judgements. On the other hand, the concrete work of inspectors does entail modification, adaptation, and mediation of rules, templates, schemes, and standard procedures. Hence, the evidence-based design denotes inspectors’ practical wisdom or mētis.


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Author Biography

Joakim Lindgren, Umeå Universitet

Joakim Lindgren is a senior lecturer in the Department of Education, Umeå University. He is currently involved in research projects focusing on school inspection and evaluation as a mode of governing education in compulsory school and higher education.