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The Vivid Alphabet: Media and Mass Literacy in the Early Modern Literary State
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History of Literature and History of Ideas. Litteraturvetenskap.
2007 (English)In: Historical Studies in Education/Revue d’histoire de l’education: Special Issue. Beyond Signature Literacy: New Research Directions, ISSN 0843-5057, Vol. 19, no 2, 53-81 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores the connections between literacy, media technology and power in early modern Northern Europe. Designed as a genealogy of mass litercy, it suggests that the extremely successful literacy campaign in the kingdom of Sweden (dating back to 1686) was based upon a new kind of writing, a reshaped alphabetic technology, coterminous with a new technology of power, namely discipline, which originated in the army. At the same time, it argues that militarisation of society, rather than consolidation of Lutheran faith, provides the pertinent context in which the take off of universal literacy in Northern Europe, and, cosequently, in the West, must be interpreted. Thus it becomes possible to explain why mass literacy was first achieved in Sweden, a state of imperial ambition were military needs and military organization permeated every aspect of society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 19, no 2, 53-81 p.
Keyword [en]
Literacy, Literature, History of Writing, History of Education, Discipline, Military Society
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-21475OAI: diva2:188002
Available from: 2007-12-10 Created: 2007-12-10 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved

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