What's up, Europe? Gender, media and European integration. The story of a a young Dane exploring the continent.

Monday, December 19, 2005

How technology is made

Thank you, LEGO. With you everything is so easy to understand. Just check out the process of developing websites.

The Exam before Christmas

So exam time. Again. The plan is to finish it before the 23th of December - meaning this week will be in nerd mode.

10 pages on the Danish media coverage of a European ministerial meeting concerned with the Bologna process. Sounds sexy, doesn't it?? Or maybe not!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Thank you, European Union. A nice plastic pen for christmas. Just what I wished for. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I heart group exams

As a student who has learned a lot from doing group work I'm very disappointed that the Danish goverment wishes to abolish group exams in Danish universities. Especially in these days when the ability to co-operate seems to be vital in many work places.

The student organizations at the universities of Aalborg and Roskilde are collecting signatures to oppose this decision - if you wish to support the good cause you can easily sign at bevargruppeeksamen.dk.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Dahl revisited

Two more quotes from Henrik Dahl - I can't help it! This time he is giving academia a hard time:

"If you study to become a priest you have to learn how to put on a serious face and say things with authority so that people will listen when you stand in a pulpit one day. If you study the humanities you have to learn to talk a lot because you can't really prove anything within your field."

"If you put a high school student through a university lecture he will die of boredom. That is the most vital competence of the academic: he has the ability to resist any lack of entertainment."

By the way: i forgot to add Dahl to my list of "instant understandable" scholars. No doubt, he and his observant sarcasm belong there.

Ordinary people part II

Another remarkable quote regarding tv and ordinary people - this time roughly translated from Danish:

"The drama in reality shows often stems from the non-existent self-respect of the participants. You watch these poor people who just don't know how to love themselves and you observe their struggle for honour. The dialogue is concerned with the distribution of esteem. You watch people who both have respect and lack respect for each other and that's exiting!"

- Henrik Dahl (Danish sociologist) in Delfinen

Monday, November 21, 2005

Lost in theoretical space

Damn. It seems that I - in spite of many classes at the media department - have repressed how demanding it is to read the works of media scholars. You need a dictionary of foreign words every second minute and their sentences are long and - so at least it seems to me - unnecessary complicated. I simply forgot how paradoxical it is that communication experts often fail to communicate!

Cultural thickening, problems of the extrasocietal, imagined communities, global stratification processes, refeudalization, macroframe programming, technoscapes... and a lot more that I don't even dare to think about. All this stuff is suppose to be ubiquitous but right now it's too abstract to be present in my everyday life!

Maybe my brain has shrunk? Or maybe it's filled up with political science stuff from the first two courses of this semester?

From the top of my head I can only mention two scholars from this field that have the quality of "instant understandability", namely Lars Qvortrup and Anthony Giddens. Unfortunately they're not on my curriculum list - I guess I just have to get into the habit and start spending half an hour on each page. *Sigh*

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Talkshows and home videos

"Ordinary people enjoy appearing on television enormously, even if they come across as mad, bad or sad. They video themselves with pride. Why? Because somehow appearing on television feels more real to them than their real lives. Rightly or wrongly, it is a vindication, a validation that they are somebody."

- Suzanne Moore (in Morley, 2000: Home Territories)

Still up for your fifteen minutes of fame?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

They're back!

So starting today The Socialdemocrats are Denmark's biggest municipal party. I'm wondering what exactly "did it" here in Aarhus since both Nikolai Wammen and his fellow leading candidate share opinions about almost everything. Especially when it comes to student life in Aarhus: more study relevant jobs, better possibilities for internships, cheaper accomodation and so on. What will the difference be? Well - hopefully there will be less bla-bla and more action.

Another question is why the Socialdemocrats have had such a successful election nationally. Given the fact that they lost five mandates in the national election in February it is interesting to consider why they are more popular in municipal politics nine months later.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Achieving international standards of excellence

Tomorrow I'll attend a conference on how to improve teaching and learning at Danish universities. The conference - of course - is motivated by the desire to get a head start in the so-called global knowledge race. I'm especially looking forward to the political debate. The panel is a good mix of politicians representing a broad political spectrum (starting from the left!): The Socialist People's Party, The Social Democrats, Venstre (The Liberal Party) and The Danish People's Party. It's going to be very interesting to see what these four very different politicians will come up with. Will they, to start with, agree on the importance of the issue?

Monday, October 31, 2005

Unpopular headgear

New survey: Almost half of the population, 46 percent, thinks that Muslim headscarves should be forbidden in Danish schools.

This was an opening for The Danish People's Party to restate their old suggestion on prohibiting religious headgear. Their argument is headscarves discriminates young girls and with a ban this would be prevented.

So where does that leave us? Should it be forbidden for fat girls to wear short, tight shirts? Should pale people be restricted in their use of bright-coloured clothes?

On the radio this morning you could hear the average Dane sharing his thoughts on this topic. One lady explained that a lot of headgear should be prohibited. Not just headscarves but also (the way I understood it) caps, religious as non-religious, should be forbidden in school. According to her such clothing didn't belong in school.

This is an interesting statement because it questions the grounds for restrictions on religious headgear. Does 46 percent of the population think a ban will result in less discrimination? Or is it that we don't want visible "unconventional stuff" in the Danish public? Especially not, when it stems from values that we see as different from our own?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Pull the Strings

After spending the day with slightly depressing readings on the "transatlantic crisis", neoconservatism and the Bush-administration this is the comic relief.

You can drag him all you want. Just use the cursor.

A bit like Gandhi

What's your political conviction? Are you closest to Bush, Mandela, Mugabe, Dalai Lama or Berlusconi? Find out at www.politicalcompass.org.

The test places you in a diagram with a vertical social scale and a horizontal economic scale. For those interested my scores are:

Economic Left/Right: -5.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.97

Here we go...

This morning something happened that most likely will change the lives of 100.000 Danish people. The Confederation of Danish Industries (DI) published a discussion paper on the Danish education system. Especially one suggestion was popular in the media: Partly converterting the study grant to a loan that can be cancelled if you do your degree in five years. This is to create an "economical motivation" for people to complete their studies faster.

This suggestion will have profound consequences for most Danish students - maybe not right now, but in the very near future. A reform of the study grant is undoubtly on the government's agenda and DI - as one of Denmark's most influential interest groups - of course will have a saying in the reform's concrete elaboration.

The proposals from DI:

DI foreslår

— At man med inspiration i det hollandske system reformerer SU-systemet, så stipendiet gøres afhængigt af studiefremdrift og alderfor studiestart.
— At man eksempelvis nedsætter SU’en i den sidste del af den normerede studietid og erstatter det med et lån, som eftergives, hvis man færdiggør sin uddannelse på normeret tid.
— At man gradvist aftrapper SU-klippene afhængigt af ventetid efter endt ungdomsuddannelse. Hvis man for eksempel starter sin uddannelse ét år efter endt ungdomsuddannelse, så har man SU-klip til den normerede uddannelsestid + 1 år, hvis man starter 2 år efter, har man SU-klip til den normerede uddannelsestid osv.
— At muligheden for at strække SU’en over syv eller otte år fjernes ved at afskaffe muligheden for at opspare frameldte SU-klip.

Read the entire paper at DI's homepage

I'm always amazed by the ways in which globalization works. A few years ago education politics never made it to the front page as today's story. But now the study grant and the motivation and working morale of students are high politics due to the "global knowledge race" where well-educated people are crucial to competitiveness. Today me and my 99.999 fellow students concern big corporations and political parties.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Identity Crisis # 2

A year ago I had my first identity crisis. It's a well-known fact that you're suppose to have a crisis when you turn 25. Well, for some obscure reason I started believing that I was 25 and -not surprisingly - a crisis came along. A week before my birthday this year I found out I was actually only 24 and just about to turn 25. Woops. Even though I felt a bit silly I was happy that the infamous crisis at 25 was over and dealt with.

Or so I thought.

Some days ago I was asked to "consider your primary affiliation in terms of identity and community". Piece of cake, I thought to myself, of course I'm a world-citizen-cosmopolitian-very-liberal-embrace-all-cultures-and-not-determined-by-my-own-cultural-background-kind-of-person! But then I gave it some thought.

Actually I'm not. I'm as Danish as you get. I have all the rights and privilegies of Danish people and my values are undoubtly Danish which has both a downside and an upside. As a Dane I'm a big fan of democracy and solidarity but at the same time somewhat intolerant to those not sharing these values. As a Danish political science scholar said it: "We are so tolerant that we are intolerant".

That's me. And I'll keep this self-analysis in mind before again claiming to be a world-citizen-cosmopolitian-very-liberal-embrace-all-cultures-and-not-determined-by-my-own-cultural-background-kind-of-person.