Daniel Alvunger

Daniel Alvunger

Professor, dean
Department of Education and Teachers' Practice Faculty of Social Sciences
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I am dean for the Faculty of Social Sciences and a teacher and researcher in Education.

I am part of the research environment Research on Pedagogical Professions and Practices (PEPP), as well as in the steering group for the Forum for Education and Vocational Knowing, which is an interdisciplinary research and development environment that brings together researchers, teachers, students, and practitioners to explore and discuss issues related to vocational competence, vocational didactics, and vocational education.


The main parts of my teaching are within the upper secondary teacher programme and the vocational teacher programme where I teach educational history (with an emphasis on vocational educational history), curriculum theory and didactics, vocational learning and development work and evaluation.


My research is focused on the following areas:

  • Education policy and curriculum making as social practice, i.e. the relationship between transnational education policy, national educational reforms and implications in local school and teaching contexts. On local arenas, it concerns teachers’ professional agency and how teachers interpret, transform and enact the curriculum in practice and how different forms of knowledge are expressed in teaching.
  • The knowledge base and organisation of teacher education, for example partly how different discourses shape and frame the understanding of the teaching profession and how various actors make meaning of the content of teacher education, partly how empirically oriented analyses can be used to develop teacher education practice.
  • Leadership theory (teacher leadership) and school development– leadership practice and relations between different actors involved in local school development work, primarily school leaders and teacher leaders, and sub-systems in the local school organisation.

My ongoing research focuses on how we can describe and understand the making and creation of curricula and teaching within vocational education. I generally refer to my work as exploring curriculum making as social practice, where I am interested in how local curricula are formed and created through the interaction of ideas, actors, and contexts across the education system. From my curriculum theory perspective, education systems have multiple layers or activity domains, within which various actors exist and through which the curriculum is created in its various forms. For example, local school curricula involving principals, team leaders, lead teachers, special educators, teachers, and students; administrative bodies involving chiefs of administration, development leaders, and also lead teachers; policymaking arenas (parliament, committees, seminars) involving politicians and national authorities such as the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) with educational advisors and specialists. My main concern regarding the organisation and content of vocational education is how different types of actors and ideas regarding teaching move across different areas of the education system and how perceptions of students' knowledge needs are defined and shaped. Ultimately, it concerns what knowledge and content are valued and selected by different actors at different levels within the education system, as well as how vocational students are granted access to or denied access to different types of knowledge in teaching.


My research interest lies at the epicenter of an ever-relevant question, namely how vocational training should be designed to meet the need for professionally educated and competent personnel. Vocational training programs are at the crossroads between schooling and the world of work. On the one hand, they are expected to contribute to supplying the labor market with relevant skills, while on the other hand, like all secondary education, they are supposed to contribute to young people's ability to independently shape and exert influence over their lives. These different logics between schooling and the world of work cannot easily be reconciled. When national curriculum documents are interpreted in local contexts within administrations and in the regional and local steering groups for the organization of vocational education that I study, there is once again a transformation and recontextualization of content influenced by specific interests and contextual conditions. We know that the local community as a context and the interaction processes between companies and schools affect students' vocational learning, but we know less about how local and regional actors co-create local policies and curriculum documents and what vocational didactic implications it has for teaching. It may involve how regional and local steering groups respond to policy pressures based on skills supply and labor market needs, how they translate concepts such as equality, diversity, and innovation, and how they relate to external analyses and requirements set based on certification and quality criteria. This constitutes a local curriculum that principals and vocational teachers in schools work with regarding activities to achieve set goals, such as student recruitment, frameworks for organizing teaching, and selection of content and knowledge for teaching. In the classroom (micro-level), vocational teachers and vocational students create various "curriculum events" through pedagogical interaction as the enactment of the curriculum in teaching.

I am part of the PEPP research environment (Research on Pedagogical Professions and Practices) at Linnaeus University but also engaged in various international networks and contexts:

  • Associate editor of The Curriculum Journal (run by British Educational Research Association)
  • Network 3 Curriculum in European Educational Research Association


A large part of my work is co-operation with municipalities and international institutions. I am also advisor to authorities in questions regarding educational reforms (National Agency for Education and the Swedish Agency for Public Management).


Article in journal (Refereed)

Article in journal (Other academic)

Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)

Chapter in book (Refereed)

Chapter in book (Other academic)

Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))

Conference paper (Refereed)

Report (Other academic)

Collection (editor) (Refereed)

Other (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))