Gunnlaugur Magnusson

senior lecturer at Department of Education

+4618-471 1679
Visiting address:
von Kraemers allé 1 A
752 37 Uppsala
Postal address:
Box 2136
750 02 Uppsala

Short presentation

Senior lecturer in pedagogy and special education.

Research interests include education reform, marketization, inclusive education and didactics in higher education.

Also available at

My courses


I work as a senior lecturer in pedagogy and special education at Uppsala university since january 2018.

I previously worked Mälardalen University as a senior lecturer in didactics and held a research fellowship in didactics between 2016 and 2018.

I have a teaching degree (B.Ed.) from Akureyri University, Iceland (2002) and a Master’s degree (Fil.Mag.) in International and Comparative Education from Stockholm University (2004). My teaching is mostly within special education and the teacher education on topics such as inclusive education, children in need of special support, structures and reforms of education systems, research and methodology and theories on learning and education.

I defended my Ph.D thesis,Traditions and Challenges. Special Support in Swedish Independent Compulsory Schools in october 2015.

My Ph.D. research was conducted within the projects “Independent schools’ work with children in need of special support” and “Special occupations? - a project about special teachers and special education needs coordinators (SENCOs) work and education” both financed by the Swedish Research Council.

My most recent research was conducted within my research fellowship. The project was called: Enacting Contradictory educational ideals? – Balancing marketization and social inclusion in practice.

I'm also engaged in research and writing about Didaktik as an alternative for teaching in higher education along with my colleague Johannes Rytzler at Mälardalen University

Other interests include educational philosophy. I've recently published an Icelandic translated Biesta's and Säfströms Manifesto for Education, translated in cooperation with Elsa Haraldsdóttir, Ph.D. student in philosophy in Iceland, link here: Menntaávarpið

Finally, I try to take an active part in societal discussions on education. Below are links to debate articles, popular science summaries and interviews I've done in Icelandic and Swedish on education politics, marketization, in defence of pedagogy and teacher education as well as on inclusive education.

Essä på isländska om psykisk ohälsa, 21 december, 2019

Sammanfattning av tre vetenskapliga artiklar, 19 december, 2019

Om populism och paranoia i svenska skoldebatten, 14 oktober, 2019

Lång intervju om inkludering på isländska, 15 september, 2019

Del av ett reportage om inkludering, på Island, 14 september, 2019

Slutreplik om oförsiktiga uttalanden om lärarkårens ansvar och villkor, Dagens Arena, 27 augusti, 2019

Om oförsiktiga uttalanden om lärarkårens ansvar och villkor, Dagens Arena, 26 augusti 2019

Intervju om inkludering med Skolvärlden, 9 augusti 2019

Kort reportage om en öppen föreläsning om inkludering på Island, 4 juni, 2019

Vem ansvarar för inkludering, på isländska, 15 maj 2019

Om kritik mot inkludering, Skola och samhälle, 13 maj 2019

Om vanlig kritik mot pedagogikämnet och ämnets bredd 23 november 2018

Om ledarartikel i DN om inkludering 27 september 2018

Replik på debattartikel, Skola och samhälle 14 juni 2018

Om skoldebatten, Skola och samhälle 17 maj, 2018

Om politiska förslag på ökad marknadisering i isländska skolsystemet (på isländska)


During this past year (2017-2018), I’ve been involved in more theoretical work along with prior colleagues at Mälardalen University, primarily aimed at the field of higher education as well as didactics and pedagogy as general fields of research and knowledge. This work has led to three publications already (see publications Magnússon & Rytzler, 2018 (x2) and Magnússon, Nordmark & Rytzler, 2018) and further developments of articles (of which one is currently submitted for review) and potential books. This work emphasizes the importance of theoretical refinement and rigor within the fields of pedagogy and didactics, in particular as regards higher education, and a critical perspective on pre-packaged solutions and a naïve empiricist view on teaching and teacher education. We combine insights and tools from curriculum theory (viewing education as a social system dependent upon complex, national and international sociological and political processes) with theoretical and philosophical readings that can inform a radical (albeit not necessarily new) understanding of the role of – and practice of – education and teaching.


Research Fellowship at Mälardalen University 2016-2018:

Enacting Contradictory educational ideals? – Balancing marketization and social inclusion in practice

The project’s main objective is to develop a theoretical understanding of how these educational ideologies influence school’s work and organisation via policy and the enactment of policy. Using interviews with head teachers, the research questions are:

  • How do head teachers address, define and reflect around the challenges of social inclusion and market oriented policies in their work and in their schools?
  • To what extent do they believe pupils in general, and vulnerable pupils in particular are affected by market mechanisms in education? What are the challenges and/or benefits?


Prior projects:

I participated in the project: Work with children in need of special support in charter schools. that was coordinated by professor Claes Nilholm.

The aim was to gain both general and specific knowledge about what the introduction of independent schools in the Swedish school system has had meant for pupils in need of special support. We pose questions about resources, organisation of support, explanations of difficulties and proportions of pupils assumed to be in need of support, receiving support etc. It contains three projects, Project 1) is a total ppoulation survey study of the independent schools. Project 2) contains case studies of eight schools and project 3) is a deeper study of two schools deemed to have a new approach to the work with pupils in need of support

I was active as a Ph. D. student within project 1) Independent schools work tith pupils in need of support - a survey study.

I also participated in the project Special occupations? - a project about special teachers and special education needs coordinators (SENCOs) work and education. run by professor Kerstin Göransson.

The overall aim was to construct knowledge about special teachers' and SENCOs' education and work. More specifically 1) gather basic empirical material about thei education and work and 2) develop concepts and theories that will give both a general and representative image of both occupational groups work and education as well as variation within the groups. We used survey studies, observations and interviews.

I participated as a Ph.D. student within the project's survey studies "SENCOs and special teachers on their education and its relevance" (total population) and "SENCOs and special teachers work within the scool".

Both projects were financed by the Swedish Research council.


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