Party Education as Mobilisation : Framing education in Swedish and Spanish political parties of the left

Abstract: This dissertation aims to contribute knowledge of how five movement-related left parties in Sweden and Spain formulate education for their members. By analysing (i) the Swedish Social Democratic Workers’ Party, (ii) the Swedish Left Party, (iii) the Spanish Social Democratic Workers’ Party, (iv) the Spanish United Left and (v) the Spanish Podemos, the study interprets how organised educational activities are formulated and motivated with the aim to instigate member engagement. The analysis builds on interviews with leading party representatives and study leaders, study and course materials, and other official documents, which steer how the parties organise their education. With a framing perspective as a theoretical itinerary, the study emphasises parties' education as a setting where meaning is formulated to initiate collective action.   The four included papers stress and discuss how educational material is formulated and how the parties perceive and motivate organised party education. Papers 1 and 2 analyse text materials and shows how educational materials establish narratives that invites the members to become active in the parties. Even though the educational narrative is welcoming, the study materials also reinforce frames of how to be schooled into becoming an ideal party member. Papers 3 and 4 study interview materials and suggest that member education is interpreted as something that strengthens parties’ movement relations, provides useful training, opens up a space for political reflection, and constructs a feeling of community within the parties.   The dissertation emphasises that these five movement-related left parties perceive their educational activities as settings that create relations between the party and its members. Applying the framing perspective to the understudied educational practices that transpire in parties contributes to deepening the theoretical understanding of how education can be formulated in relation to its bearing on creating collective identities.   

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