Trine Øland

Trine Øland

Associate Professor

Primary fields of research

My primary fields of research are sociology of education and history of education.  I am interested in the significance and effect of welfare state progressivism and integrationism, e.g., progressive pedagogy in public schools in Denmark and welfare work with immigrants and refugees in public welfare provisions.

I am concerned with the interplay between avowed intent and unheeded forms of practice within welfare work as a complex cultural and social matter. I engage in critical studies of classification and racialization processes in connection to development and transformation of educational ideas and practices, locally anchored but related to international, global and scientific efforts. I use a variety of methodological approaches, primarily historical and archival sources, observations and ethnographic field research, and sociological interviewing.

Previously, I have observed and analysed the social practice of thematic work and project work in public schools in a social class perspective (1970s and 2000s), examined the cultural constructs of the child and human potential in progressive pedagogy in Denmark as part of an international and scientific enlightenment movement (1920s to 1950s), conducted a collective biography of 549 Danish progressive ‘school-pedagogues’ such as teachers, psychologists, artists, philosophers, etc. (1929-1960), studied the political and educational ideas of canons on culture, history and democracy and the role intellectuals play in this context (2000-2010), and conducted in 2014-2015 a sociological interview study of 48 welfare workers' ambigous work with immigrants and refugees.

Current research

At the moment, I am involved in three projects. First of all, a new project funded by The Independent Research Council Denmark: "Refugees' stories and stories about refugees: Crafting new narratives of the Danish welfare state" (RESTORE), January 2021-December 2023. The project seeks to construct new narratives of the Danish welfare state at the intersection of refugees' stories about the welfare state and political-administrative stories about refugees. This project is carried out in collaboration with a post.doc.

The second project is “Refugee arrivals and welfare dynamics in Denmark, 1978-2016”, 2017-2021. This project explores hierarchical relations, investments and reasonings encompassed in welfare work with newcomers, respectively Vietnamese in the 1970s, Bosnians in the 1990s, and Syrians in the 2010s. The project is carried out in collaboration with VIA University College by Marta Padovan-Özdemir. Journal articles and a monograph will be published.

The third project is ”Interdisciplinarity, problem based learning and school management in public school practice”, 2018-2021.  Focus is on how an interdisciplinary and flexible school is produced by engaged agents through processes, situations and manifestations in the everyday life of the school. This project is part of a book venture about interdisciplinarity across the educational system in collaboration with researchers from Department of Science Education, Copenhagen Business School, and University College Copenhagen.

I am currently Head of Section for Education, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen (2013-), Head of the research group The History and Sociology of Welfare Work (2014-) and was member of the research group Children, Media and Culture (2014-2019).

I am also chairman of the professional board (faggruppen) of the Consortium for Education and professional welfare work; a collaboration between University College UCC and Section of Education, Faculty of Humanities, Univresity of Copenhagen (2015-), I was editor of the Danish educational journal Dansk pædagogisk Tidsskrift (DpT) (2003-2020), and member of the steering group for the research center for Advanced Migration Studies (AMIS) (2019-).

I have supervised and am currently supervising the following Ph.D.-theses:

Eva Bertelsen (co-supervisor): 'Curriculum' til fremtiden? Karakteristikker af "den nye gymnasieskole" gennem perspektiver på institution, nybyggeri og elevsubjektiviteter, Ørestad Gymnasium som case (graduated 2013)

Marta Padovan-Özdemir (principal supervisor): The Making of Educationally Manageable Immigrant Schoolchildren in Denmark, 1970–2013: A Critical Prism for Studying the Fabrication of a Danish Welfare Nation State (graduated 2016)

Katrine Lindvig (co-supervisor): Creating Interdisciplinarity within Monodisciplinary Structures (graduated 2017). Institut for Naturfagenes Didaktik, KU.

Sofie Rosengaard (principal supervisor): Pædagogik i en krisetid. [Daycare Education In A Time Of Crisis] (graduated 2018)

Marianne Brodersen (co-supervisor): Forstyrret og forstyrrende: Analyser af velfærdsarbejdets viden om elever, som skolen har vanskeligheder med. [Disturbed and disturbing: Analyses of welfare work knowledge about children that the school have difficulties with] (graduated 2019). Roskilde Universitet.

Lone Bæk Brønsted (principal supervisor): Til statens forsvar: Om SSP-medarbejderes kriminalitetsforebyggende og socialt disponerende arbejde [In defence of the state: On crime preventive welfare work and its social work] (graduated 2020)

Malene Kubstrup Nelausen (principal supervisor): Elevfællesskaber og inkluderede elevers mulighed for at blive til som elever og klassekammerater efter inklusionsloven (2016-2020)

Stine Saabye Bach (principal supervisor): Skolens eksistensbetingelser for elever med social angst [Conditions of existence for pupils who suffer from social anxiety] (graduated 2020)

Stine Thygesen (principal supervisor): Normaliseringspraktikker og anbragte børns skolegang: velfærdsarbejdets praksis og potentialer [Welfare work with children in care] (graduated 2020)


I have taught and teach the following courses (or similar):

The History of Education (BA)

Sociology of Pedagogy and Sociology of Education (BA)

Educational Research and research methods in Education (BA)

The field of educational sciences (MA)

Analysis of educational issues (MA)

I supervise papers, MA-thesis and PhD-thesis within these areas

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Welfare work with immigrants and refugees in a social democratic welfare state

    Øland, Trine, 15 Feb 2019, London & New York: Routledge. 199 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

  2. Published

    Statecrafting on the Fringes: Studies of Welfare Work Addressing the Other

    Øland, Trine (ed.), Ydesen, C. (ed.), Padovan-Özdemir, M. (ed.) & Moldenhawer, Bolette (ed.), 25 Sep 2019, Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum. 230 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportAnthologyResearchpeer-review

  3. Published

    Flygtningeankomster og racialiserede velfærdsdynamikker i Danmark, 1978-2016

    Padovan-Özdemir, M. & Øland, Trine, Dec 2018, In : Social Kritik:Tidsskrift for social analyse & debat. 30, 156, p. 20-33 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  4. Published

    The cultural policy of canons and the role of intellectuals

    Rosengaard, S. & Øland, Trine, 18 Jun 2018, In : Nordisk Kulturpolitisk Tidskrift. 2018, 1, p. 48-72 25 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  5. Published

    ‘‘Human potential’ and progressive pedagogy: a long cultural history of the ambiguity of ‘race’ and ‘intelligence’’

    Øland, Trine, 2017, Sociology of Education II. Ball, S. J. (ed.). London: Routledge, (Routledge's Major Themes in Education series).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

  6. Published

    Reformpædagogik - progressiv pædagogik

    Øland, Trine, 20 Jan 2017, Didaktikhåndbogen: Teorier og temaer. Laursen, P. F. & Kristensen, H. J. (eds.). København: Hans Reitzels Forlag, p. 107-127 20 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

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