Gunnlaugur Magnusson

Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor at Department of Education

+46 18 471 16 79
Visiting address:
Von Kraemers allé 1 A
752 37 Uppsala
Postal address:
Box 2136
750 02 Uppsala
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Associate professor in education. Senior lecturer in pedagogy and special education.

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

See also my webpage:


I'm an associate professor in education and a senior lecturer in pedagogy and special education. I recently returned from a two year leave for a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Oslo (April 1st 2021-June 30th 2023). Further information about the project can be found here.

I've previously held a one-year research position at Uppsala university between April 1st, 2020-to March 31st 2021 and a two year research fellowship in didactics at Mälardalen University, July 1st 2016 - June 30th 2018.

I worked as a lecturer at Mälardalen University between 2007 and 2016, as a Ph.D. student between 2010 and 2015 and as a senior lecturer 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.

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. Our book on teaching in higher education was published by Routledge in April 2022

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

I participate actively in debate and discussion about education and am currently member of the editorial board of, a debate site about education politics and education, and act as publisher (ansvarig utgivare) for the site. Links to my essays, debate-articles, and popular-science summaries can be found below among my publications under "Other" and listed in my CV. Here follow links to interviews and media appearances (in Icelandic and Swedish). These are mostly about education politics, marketization, as well as inclusive education.

Samstöðin (Dec/2023). Interview in Icelandic about the Swedish education system and PISA 2023

Morgunblaðið, (Sept/2023). Newspaper interview in (Icelandic) about the book Bréf úr sjálfskipaðri útlegð.

Ríkisútvarpið, Rás 1 (Sept/2023). Radio interview (in Icelandic) about the book Bréf úr sjálfskipaðri útlegð

Short comment about profits in education, Sveriges Radio P4 Uppland, September 9th, 2022

Short interview about ear marked state financing of special groups, Skolvärlden June 6th, 2022

Panel-discussion about marketization in education (in Icelandic), Samstöðin, January 18th, 2022

Short interview in Skolporten no 6 2021, page 15. (print only).

Short intervju on the political responsibility och education, Skolledaren, December 7th, 2021

Short interview on inclusion, Tidningen Specialpedagogik, June 6th 2021

Short interview, P4-Stockholm, October 13th, 2020 (approx. 1hr 22 minutes in)

Interview about the Swedish school debate and inclusive education, August 11th 2020

Long interview on inclusion (in Icelandic), September 15th, 2019

News report on inclusion (Icelandic), September 14th, 2019

Interview on inclusion with Skolvärlden, August 9th 2019

Short news-report about an open lecture I held at University of Iceland(Icelandic), June 4th, 2019

Protests re: new office environments, Campus Eskilstuna, June 23rd 206

Interview Tidningen Specialpedagogik, #6 2016

Short interview Tidningen Specialpedagogik. Januari 1st 2016

Interview Skolporten, November 11th 2015 (

Interview Skolvärlden, November 10th 2015

Interview Sveriges Radio Sörmland, February 15th 2013.

Interview Lärarnas Tidning, February 1st 2013


Current research:

Co-applicant on a project financed by The Swedish Research Council (022-03017) med primary-applicant Daniel Nordholm, Maria Jarl and Wieland Wermke: Comparing leadership autonomy in Swedish, Finnish and Icelandic municipalities and schools.

Co-appliacant on a project financed by The Swedish Research Council (2020-03652) together with primary-applicant Wieland Wermke and Gabriella Höstfält "From Salamanca to PISA. The professionalisation of Special needs educators since 1990 from a comparative perspective" .

For the last few years (2017-), 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 several publications (see publications Magnússon & Rytzler, 2018, 2019, Rytzler & Magnússon, 2020) and Magnússon, Nordmark & Rytzler, 2018) and conference papers and an upcoming book published by Routledge, Towards a Pedagogy of Higher Education. The Bologna Process, Didaktik, and Teaching (Magnússon & Rytzler 2022). 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. The roots of the project lie in readings conducted within Seminar X, a forum aimed at theoretical readings which I co-founded and coordinated 2015-2018.

Prior research:

Two-year research position within the POLNET-project (100% research) at Oslo University. To begin April 1st 2021.

One year research-position (80% reseearch) at Uppsala University (April 1st 2020 - March 31st 2021).

Two year Research Fellowship at Mälardalen University (July 1st 2016 - June 30th 2018).


I participated in the project: Work with children in need of special support in charter schools coordinated by professor Claes Nilholm, financed by the Swedish Research Council

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, financed by the Swedish Research council.

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".


Selection of publications

Recent publications

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Gunnlaugur Magnusson