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"Vi kan inte alla passa till hantverkare": Blinda kvinnors bildningsprocess 1879-1923
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2010 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
“We cannot all be craftsmen” : The educational process of blind women in Sweden 1979-1923 (English)
Abstract [en]

The main aim of my dissertation is to make a contribution to the history of blind women in Sweden from 1879 to 1923 by demonstrating how they were educationally defined and classified during that period. I have chosen this particular period because education for the blind was separated from that of the deaf in 1879, when the first state-funded institute was founded. My study ends in 1923, the year in which state control of the blind ended, to be replaced by a supportive network created by the Organisation for the cooperation with a philanthropic organisation.

My chief source were the State school for the Blind archives, which contain reports from 1903 to 1923  compiled by inspectors whose task it was to supervise education for the blind.  For my interpretation of these sources I adopted a hermeneutic method. Since blind women have left very few written sources, I concentrated my interpretation on historical events and their external reality, while touching on the current of ideas these events formed part of. However, I have written four mini biographies of blind women who were Professional blind, using the vocabulary of Robert A. Scott. They worked at the organisation for the blind (DBF) most of their life, trying to improve the conditions of their fellow sisters.

Ideas which were part of a process which was rapidly changing society were adopted by educationalists of the blind, although it often took years before new teaching methods and subjects were assimilated into education for the blind.

Education for the blind 1879-1923 was a process of normalisation and integration of the disabled, although these concepts have a different meaning today. Normalisation then meant not being a burden to society; self-support was the catchword. There were several dividing mechanisms in education for the blind which contributed to blind women’s dependence on financial support. However, it should be pointed out that this attitude to blind women did not differ much from society’s attitude to women in general. Although there was an effort to make blind women more self-supporting around the time of the Great War, the majority of blind women still desperately needed support in the beginning of the 1920s.

Private vocational schools for the blind were better informed of the needs of blind women and so provided an education which helped to make them self-supporting. These schools were run by blind persons and employed blind teachers. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Pedagogiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet , 2010. , 213 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar från Pedagogiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1104-1625
Keyword [en]
History of Education, history of the Blind, blind women, disability studies, normality, philanthropy
Keyword [sv]
utbildningshistoria, pedagogikhistoria, blindas historia, blinda kvinnor, normalitet, filantropii
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-39072ISBN: 978-91-7447-069-7OAI: diva2:318268
Public defence
2010-06-01, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2010-05-10 Created: 2010-05-07 Last updated: 2010-05-07Bibliographically approved

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Christensen Sköld, Beatrice
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