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En sund själ i en sund kropp: hälsopolitik i Stockholms folkskolor 1880-1930
Stockholm University, The Stockholm Institute of Education.
2001 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
A Sound Mind in a Sound Body : Health Policy in Stockholm's Elementary Schools 1880-1930 (English)
Abstract [en]

A sound mind in a sound body is a study of the health policy in Stockholm's elementary schools. One of the city's schools is used as a representative focus: the Maria Elementary School. The efforts of the school's leadership, medical staff and corps of teachers to create clean and healthy children, are broadly described. Not only the children should become influenced by summer holiday camps, regular bathing and medical checkups, even the homes should become influenced by the cleanliness and wholesome living. Hygiene was a new inword, defined as the key to reach and keep health, both mentally and bodily. The period covered by this dissertation begins just when the great "Folkhem" (welfare state) was taking off. Many of the institutions described then still exist and function today. Inasmuch as the concept hygiene is so farreaching, the study focuses on around fifteen separate social areas: from the moral panic early film-viewing was creating, to schoolbuildings and care of schoolgardens.

The book gives a picture of a school where the discourse of hygiene had a leading role. The local board of education was the key to 10 000-30 000 children and their families, offering its message. The low level of knowledge of hygiene and childrearing in the families of the time was seen as a major threat to the school's efforts. There was a deep conviction of society's right and duty to take direct action, where the home was considered deficient. The dissertation also gives a description of the school's close cooperation with the philanthropic work and of the cooperation between teachers and doctors.

The interpretations are inspired by Michel Foucault's analyses of power and knowledge. Discourse, bio-politics and governmentality are concepts that are examined. The findings in the dissertation can be seen as good examples of bio-politics. Foucault presents two regulating principles: disciplinary measures and population regulation. He describes the disciplining measures as an anatomical policy for the human body, which expresses itself in different forms of drill. This is expressed in the material by the positions the children are demanded to use when they sit and write, when they do gymnastics, are marching in and out of classrooms, and in the discipline within the play. The other form is very obvious in the material, for example in the different techniques used to change the children's lifestyles: the height and weight measurements, schoolbaths and summercamps' in-built pronouncements.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: HLS Förlag, 2001. , 292 p.
Studies in educational sciences, ISSN 1400-478X ; 35
Keyword [en]
Discipline, Elementary School, Hygiene, Health Education, School History in Sweden in the 19th century, School History in Sweden in the 20th century, Stockholm: Maria Elementary School.
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-72003ISBN: 91-7656-492-4OAI: diva2:487981
Public defence
2001-03-16, 10:00
Available from: 2012-02-01 Created: 2012-02-01Bibliographically approved

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