Human rights within the discussion of entrepreneurship: On a secondary level in the education system

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för globala studier

Author: Emma Johnsson; [2014-06-27]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: In Sweden in the year of 2011 a new curriculum was put in place on the secondary level. This curriculum contains the introduction of human rights and the demand that human rights shall be visible within all subjects on the secondary level. Based upon this the purpose of this thesis is to examine how human rights issues are interpreted by the teachers when teaching entrepreneurship, together with discussing possible reasons and outcomes for this interpretation. Some claim human rights to be about fairness and on the socio-political left wing of compassion and a fight against the powerful while entrepreneurship focuses on efficiency and the optimal use of resources and to be wealth- and job creation and belong to the right wing of a political spectrum. Despite these claimed differences there seems to be possibilities for cooperation between the two. By interviewing teachers, who teach on entrepreneurship on a secondary level, in the area of Gothenburg this thesis examines their interpretation of human rights within the discussion of entrepreneurship, what problems and possibilities they see when bringing these two concepts together and also what possible factors can have an impact on the way human rights and entrepreneurship are being interpreted and understood within secondary level schools. The material from these interviews together with other researcher’s opinion about the education system, curriculum and its content as well as Michael Foucault’s theory about relationships of power and the creation of truths have been analyzed in a discourse analysis. The findings from this thesis research is that the teachers interpretation of the two concepts is similar to the one often used in society and previously expressed here where human rights is about each individual persons right to freedom without denying anyone else’s rights. Entrepreneurship they express to be about bringing development forward, reaching goals as well as being a tool and an attitude in how to live life. Using the two together is put forward as a positive thing where human rights can humanize entrepreneurship and thus keep it from becoming something negative with a risk of exploiting. However, I find the teachers discussion to be about issues in far away countries and not something in direct contact with each individual. I also see a risk of some rights getting more attention than others due to the teachers’ knowledge and understanding about human rights being too narrow.

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