Lena lär lyda. Fostran och disciplinering i svensk skola 1947-1956.

Translated title of the contribution: Lena learns to obey. Fosterage and discipline in Swedish compulsory schooling 1947-1956

Helene Båtshake

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The purpose of this monograph is to discern what constituted the dominant fostering and discipline discourse in Swedish compulsory schools during the period 1947-1956. For this purpose Michel Foucault's discourse analysis has played a central role in this thesis. As a starting point, an account of the emergence of modernity in Sweden is given, as well as a brief presentation of the Swedish population and education in Sweden at the middle of the 20th century.

Using, among others, what is interpreted as articles that are typical of the period, found in educational trade publications, compulsory education, seen as a disciplinary institution, is described, thus clarifying the dominant fostering discourse. Further clarification was found in the most frequently used ?Learn? and ?Read? textbooks (readers) as well as in a study of the historical background of reading textbook. Émile Durkheim (1858-1917), Michel Foucault (1926-1984) and Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) have provided the theoretical background for this study, representing as they do the central figures within structuralism.

In accordance with Foucault's discourse analysis, the three central concepts are power, discipline and fosterage. The relevance of these three concepts was confirmed by the study of readers and articles, mentioned above. In addition, the concept of secondary socialisation proved useful.

Readers are excellent examples of cultural carriers. In older readers published in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the contents were utopian for most of the pupils. The Sörgård idyll is an example of a utopian community. The reader what I closely studied is entitled Nu ska vi läsa (Let Us Read), written by Stina Borrman et al. (1948). In this book the narrative tradition, which had its roots in a verbal culture, is abandoned. In a verbal culture the practice of maintaining the culture through narration is important. In a written-based form of culture, narratives can be recorded, making the art of narration less important. Therefore, the presentation is fragmentary in Nu ska vi läsa and the book itself constitutes a breach with narration.

I purpose that this work can primarily be considered a contribution to historical education research, inasmuch as it constitutes the study of several readers, widely used during the middle of the 20th century. I have also studied the educational discourse that was dominant at this particular time, using the contents of education trade publications. Examples from articles are given, in which primarily disciplining and fostering problems are treated. The overall impression is the decline of "good manners" among the young.
Translated title of the contributionLena learns to obey. Fosterage and discipline in Swedish compulsory schooling 1947-1956
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Education
  • Bergstedt, Bosse, Supervisor
Award date2006 Sep 29
Print ISBNs91-628-6924-8
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2006-09-29
Time: 10:00
Place: Edens hörsal

External reviewer(s)

Name: Asplund Carlsson, Maj
Title: Docent
Affiliation: Göteborgs universitet


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Educational Sciences


  • grammar school
  • the history of pedagogy
  • compulsory school
  • structuralism
  • readers
  • educational discourse
  • socialisation
  • fosterage
  • power
  • discipline
  • discourse analysis
  • Foucault
  • Comparative and historical pedagogy
  • Jämförande och historisk pedagogik


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