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Demokratins ansikte: en jämförande studie av demokratibilder i tyska och svenska samhällskunskapsböcker för gymnasiet
Stockholm University, The Stockholm Institute of Education, Department of Curriculum Studies and Communication .
2000 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The face of democracy : a comparative study of how democracy is presented in German and Swedish textbooks in social science written for senior high school (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this dissertation is to compare German and Swedish textbooks in socialscience focused on how democracy takes form in the text. What kind ofrepresentations appears through texts and illustrations? What is said and how is itsaid? What is emphasized? What is excluded? How does the text present differentconcepts and relate them to democracy? The study also focuses on how knowledgeand learning is described and to whom the text is addressed.This dissertation has a semiotic-didactic perspective based on the dialogicalprinciple that emanates from Bakhtin’s theoretical perspective and Bakhtin’sthoughts of how to analyze texts.The empirical material consists of textbooks in social science, published since 1950.The study is restricted to books written for upper secondary school and books havebeen selected to achieve variation in the descriptions of democracy.The analysis has focused on themes and concepts appearing in the textbooks.Different themes appearing in the text are the basis for the creation of a time-line.Four different periods have been found in each country, but the division of time isslightly different.The dominant themes in German textbooks are “the good and the evil”, “thegood and bad democracy”, “action groups – to be or not to be” and “unity oreminance”. There is more than one theme in Swedish textbooks, but the mostdominant themes are “governing and obedience”, “governing and autonomy”, “theautonomous citizen”, and “governing or empowerment”.There are many representations of democracy in the textbooks and most of therepresentations are vague and full of contradictions. Some of the images evencontradict the official image of democracy. Citizens in German textbooks aredescribed as active, autonomous and responsible, but the only way to influencepoliticians is through participation in elections. Citizens described in Swedishtextbooks are portrayed as passive, ignorant and irresponsible, except when voting.The dominant view of knowledge and learning is reproductive. Knowledge isportrayed as monological and the students are expected to learn some basics facts,without being able to reflect and deliberate on issues. However, texts can be openand create opportunities for students to reflect and take a stance on their own. Anopen and dialogical text is more common in German textbooks than in Swedishtextbooks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: HLS Förlag, 2000. , 281 p.
Studies in educational sciences, ISSN 1400-478X ; 29
Keyword [en]
Images of democracy, Textbooks in Social Science, Dialogue and Monologue
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-33184ISBN: 91-7656-481-9OAI: diva2:282573
Public defence
2000-11-11, sal H303, Rålambsvägen 30, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-12-21 Created: 2009-12-21 Last updated: 2014-01-28Bibliographically approved

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Bronäs, Agneta
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