Teacher Educators in Neoliberal Times: A Phenomenological Self-Study


  • Magnus Levinsson
  • Anita Norlund
  • Dennis Beach




In Sweden, and most Western countries, pervasive neoliberal policies have dramatically transformed the entire education sector in a matter of decades. As teacher educators, we have experienced how neoliberal currents have pushed Swedish teacher education towards a teacher training paradigm which may risk undermining the foundations for professional judgement. Moreover, the Bologna Process and the introduction of New Public Management have had significant consequences for what it means to be a teacher educator. In this study, we present our everyday experiences of being teacher educators, immersed in a teacher education culture in Sweden which has evolved under the pressures of neoliberalism. To address these complex lived experiences we engaged in a phenomenological first-person account. Three main themes emerged from an analysis of lived experience descriptions: (a) Alignment Slaves; (b) Audit Puppets; (c) Techno Phobes. These themes reflect different lived dimensions of being teacher educators confronted with neoliberal agendas. The paper concludes with a call for resistance to bring about change within teacher education.