Fragments of danning

A critical analysis of the current educational discourse in Norway


  • Aurora Jacobsen Evenshaug
  • Elin Rødahl Lie University of Oslo


Norway, Bildung, danning, formation, education, conceptual analysis, hermeneutics, curriculum, translation, Nordic education


In 2017, a new core curriculum was implemented in Norwegian primary and secondary education, replacing the core curriculum from 1997. While the concept of danning is present in both curricula, its meaning and use seem to change.

              The concept of danning has a played a significant role in Norwegian society and educational history. Danning has been linked to the establishment of Norwegian democracy, in which education plays an important role. Since the 19th century, the meaning of the concept has been subject to change, corresponding to historical changes, yet the word itself continues to be part of the Norwegian educational rhetoric and national curriculum. This means that conversations about danning may not be fruitful because the participants attach different meanings to the same concept. Thus, a study of how danning has been used and how it is used today is warranted.

              Through an analysis of two Norwegian curricula, from 1997 and 2017, we find changes in the perception of danning and in its role as an educational concept in Norwegian education. We argue that danning goes from being understood as a result-oriented, social and democratic concept in 1997 to being seen as an individualistic process in pursuit of certain personal characteristics, without its former social component, in 2017. This indicates a fragmentation of danning.


2023-07-04 — Updated on 2023-10-02