Konstruktionen av gymnasieskolans turismämne

Anders Olsson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The purpose of the present dissertation is to problematize the choice of content in the subject Tourism in Swedish upper secondary school, and it thereby aims to contribute to a discussion of the subject content and its implications. The dissertation is informed by an international tradition of tourism education research, as well as by research pursued within a Swedish curriculum theory tradition. The reference to curriculum theory here implies examining the relationship between education and democracy in particular. A critical analysis of aims and contents is made a part of political and philosophical discussions concerning the role of tourism education in society. The perspective adopted is inspired by Foucault and cosmopolitanism. A discourse analysis approach is developed in which a number of texts are analyzed, including textbooks and syllabi of the subject Tourism, as well as political texts, social science theory and tourism research. The cosmopolitanism perspective here constitutes a wider frame, in which a historical perspective is adopted in order to enhance an understanding of the present and contribute to reflection on the future.
Adopting a cosmopolitan perspective, the analysis was first directed towards tourism as an industry. The construction of the subject Tourism can be understood as related to economic globalization. The industrial discourse on tourism is traced back to the history of the tourism industry and Swedish tourism policy. As a consequence of the industrial discourse, some values are reproduced while others are marginalized. Thus, one consequence is the reproduction of nationalistic notions whereas another consequence is the marginalization of notions on sustainable development.
In a second step, the analysis was directed towards the relation between tourism and nationalism. The construction of the subject Tourism can be understood as related to a nationalistic perspective that has dominated politics and to the paradox produced by economic globalization in terms of nationalism. Within the industrial discourse, an important aspect is marketing Sweden. The image of Sweden is exaggerated in this marketing. Although this can be seen as an important part of marketing Sweden, at the same time nationalistic notions are reproduced. Nationalistic notions on tourism were traced back to Swedish nationalism and Swedish tourism policy.
In a third step, the analysis was directed towards the relation between tourism and sustainable development. The content was related to the global problems following economic globalization and the expansion of the tourism industry. This expansion has influenced environment as well as societal and cultural conditions in a negative way in several parts of the world. The emergence of a sustainable development discourse was noted. Within this discourse, focus is placed on eco-tourism and environmental issues, while other aspects of the relation between tourism and sustainable development has been marginalized. Furthermore, this discourse was traced back to Swedish tourism policy and the growth of eco-tourism. Finally, the industrial discourse was discussed in relation to some of the tourism problems of our time.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Education
  • Bergstedt, Bosse, Supervisor
  • Helmstad, Glen, Supervisor
Award date2009 Sep 18
Print ISBNs978-91-628-7866-5
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2009-09-18
Time: 13:15
Place: Sångsalen, AF-Huset
External reviewer(s)
Name: Olsson, Ulf
Title: [unknown]
Affiliation: Stockholms universitet

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Educational Sciences


  • discourse analysis
  • cosmopolitan perspective
  • Foucault
  • tourism education
  • curriculum theory
  • subject content

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