Aarhus Universitets segl


Overall focus of the research hub, Engage

The Research Hub Engage gathers researchers across disciplines at DPU for mutual collaborative work in joint projects, networks as well as reading and writing initiatives. Engage values the inspiration and collaboration across junior and senior research levels and is dedicated to integrate international colleagues in joint efforts to understand:

The complex social, socio-material, cultural and subjective becoming, participation and engagements of children and young people in the contemporary welfare society.

Focus of our research centers on the trajectories of and processes involved in the development, subjectification and social belonging, which are conducive to children and young people engaging in childcare, school and education as well as everyday life in a broader sense. We are interested in their analogue as well as digital engagement. And in the kinds of engagement that are typically considered positive as well as those considered troubled or even destructive.

Some of the questions we raise concern:

Which educational and institutional frames support such processes in which ways? Which communities of belonging, which normativities, and which patterns of participation are offered to children and young people to enable their social engagement?

What characterizes the trajectories instigating children and young people to disengage from school and everyday life communities, and perhaps engage in counter-communities and various forms of resistance.

Which trajectories and processes may lead to isolation, marginalization, bullying, or perhaps other forms of destructive, even radicalized or violent life conducts?

Furthermore, through which kinds of complex subjective, social and cultural formations are interchanging, sometimes even simultaneous, belongings to multiple kinds of trajectories enacted?

We are also investigation how such conditions are met and negotiated by not only young people and children, but also professionals, parents, and policy makers as well as educational and institutional leaders.

Research topics: In the Engage research Hub, we investigate conceptualizations, enactments and social practices of engagement and disengagement. We analyze the effected character of participation and community belongings and the consequences for children and young people’s shifting and dynamic becoming in terms of agency, competences, identities, and subject formations.

We do so within a range of specific topics, which include bullying, (world)care, conflicts in school, digital engagement, marginalization, radicalization, school absence, sport and talents, thriving and well-being. We analyze how social categories such as ethnicity, diagnoses, gender, religion, social class and their intersectionality entangle such phenomena. Our focus is not only how children and young people are formed by but also how they negotiate and co-produce the meaning and mattering of their lives and engagement.

The researchers in Engage are interested all such phenomena within formal and informal communities of participation and becoming, e.g., within childcare, schools, and youth education, structured by policies and pedagogic ambitions and regulations, as well as within informal communities of belonging, among friends, in neighborhoods, and families. We are interested in the relations among professionals, and among professionals and youth, including relations with parents. We study interaction and intra-action across boundaries, analogue and digital involvement, space and time.

Ambitions and approaches: The researchers in Engage are dedicated to the development of theoretical frameworks and methodologies that enable knowledge production within and across all these topics and dimensions. We are eager to work across theoretical disciplines and across theoretical and methodological research traditions to enhance this knowledge production and to push the boundaries for thinking and knowing.

At the time being, our interdisciplinary efforts include education, psychology, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and didactics. You will find a range of theories grounding our thinking, including affect theory, agential realism, critical psychology, critical theory, cultural psychology, discursive psychology, new materialism, posthuman thinking, poststructuralism, and practice theory. Our methodological approaches are mainly empirically grounded and include a wide range of qualitative methods.

The Hub research is published in articles and books (see own web link left side). We do independent and collective research in joint projects, mutually supporting each other in securing funding for our work. We supervise PhD students and offer conference papers and seminars with invited guest researchers.

Our teaching is concentrated on DPUs master’s in educational psychology, but we also contribute with teaching at some of the professional master degrees studies as well as on the master’s in educational anthropology.

Dissemination and targets of knowledge: The research developed by Engage is disseminated to two main audiences: 1. Researchers and students at universities and university colleges via international and national journals and books. 2. Policy makers, professionals working in day care, schools, and other institutions, as well as support functions such as Educational Psychological Service.

The Engage research Hub welcomes new PhD students looking for supervision as well as guest PhD students and guest researchers from other universities and countries.