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"De Andra": afrikaner i svenska pedagogiska texter (1768-1965)
Stockholm University.
2000 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study examines the way in which the image of the Sub-Saharan peoples is presented in the schools texts used in Sweden. The concept of ‘educational texts’ includes both used reading books and school texts for teaching geography. This study primarily concentrates on educational texts from 1768 up to 1965.

The guiding questions of this research are as follows: What are the social factors that have contributed to shaping a certain image of Africans? What kind of messages concerning Africa may be detected in school texts? What type of emphasis can be perceived (in Africa’s discursive field)? What messages emanating from other cultural contexts have led to the elaboration of Swedish texts about Africa? How was the Swedish mental chart about Africa structured? What social identities led to the making of such texts? What type of ‘knowledge’ has been excluded from these school texts?

The theoretical guidelines that organise this research are founded in Mikhail Bakthin’s critical discourse analysis and dialogism, the socio-semiotics approach and Raymond Williams’ notion of selective tradition. Raymond Williams’ notions of dominant culture transmission indicate that this process is characterised by selectivity of existing knowledge in a given historical period.

The material has been classified into four periods. The first embraces the period from 1768 to 1850. It is characterised by its emphasis on the cultural differences between Africans and Europeans, who were considered sub-human and civilised, respectively. The second period - 1850 to 1920 - introduced the racial bias into the corpus of school texts. The metonymic language identifies Blacks with inferiority and Whites with superiority. During this period, school texts reproduce without criticism the colonialist’s arguments. The texts are permeated by oppositions of the type ‘we, the civilised’, ‘they, the barbarians’, ‘culture’ vs. ‘non-culture’, ‘religious’ vs. ‘pagans’, etc.

The third period covers texts from mid-1920s till the end of the 1950s. School texts are impregnated of virulent scientific racism. Craniology and the idea of hereditary racial superiority or inferiority structure the examined texts.

School texts of these three periods tend to monology and single-emphasis. In the early 1960’s - the last period under examination - witnesses the emergence of texts without racist contents. This period saw the appearance of books providing space for a large variety of voices and their main feature is dialogical. The stress on the difference between ‘them’ and ‘us’ gives way to the ‘similarity’ among cultures. This was the period of the gradual disappearance of such way of thinking that opposes ‘civilisation’ (us) and ‘barbarous’ (them).

Our research indicates that the processes of selection of school knowledge play a fundamental role in cultural reproduction. The fact of having conceded a privilege position to some knowledge and disregarded others, led to the emergence - for almost 200 years - of a clear object in school discourse: the “alien-inferior-other”.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholms universitets förlag, 2000. , p. 263
Series
Studies in educational sciences, ISSN 1400-478X ; 31
Keyword [en]
didactics, ethnicity, ideology, mentality, school texts, “the other”, “otherness”, racism, racialization
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-70605ISBN: 91-7656-483-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-70605DiVA, id: diva2:482095
Public defence
2000-11-25, 10:00
Opponent
Available from: 2012-01-23 Created: 2012-01-23 Last updated: 2018-04-09Bibliographically approved

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