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  • Jackson & Nyström 2014(post print)

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Research Papers in Education on 27/10/2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02671522.2014.970226

    Accepted author manuscript, 183 KB, Word document

    Available under license: CC BY: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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'Smart students get perfect scores in tests without studying much': why is an effortless achiever identity attractive, and for whom is it possible?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Research Papers in Education
Issue number4
Volume30
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)393-410
Publication statusPublished
Early online date27/10/14
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Discourses about the value of effort and hard work are prevalent and powerful in many western societies and educational contexts. Yet, paradoxically, in these same contexts effortless achievement is often lauded, and in certain discourses is heralded as the pinnacle of success and a sign of genius. In this paper we interrogate discourses about effort and especially ‘effortlessness’ in Swedish and English educational contexts. Informed, in particular, by interview data generated in upper secondary schools in Sweden and secondary schools in England, we address the questions: why is effortless achievement attractive, and for whom is it possible to be discursively positioned as an effortless achiever? We argue that the subject position of ‘effortless achiever’ is not available to all categories of students equally, and for some it would be almost impossible to attain; the intersections of gender, social class, ethnicity and institutional setting are influential. We end by considering the problematic implications of effortless achievement discourses.

Bibliographic note

18 month embargo This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Research Papers in Education on 27/10/2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02671522.2014.970226