The Emergence of the Democrat: Popular education and the Process of Democratic Subjection in Sweden 1830-1940

The Emergence of the Democrat: Popular education and the Process of Democratic Subjection in Sweden 1830-1940

The purpose of this project is to analyse and explain the emergence, production and reproduction of liberal democratic subjects, by studying one of the most important institutions of the process in Sweden: popular education. Analysing the making of democratic subjects as a political project will problematise the established paradigm that the democratisation processes in the West were natural, successive and uncontested. Our way of approaching democracy is inspired by newer research, which originates from Foucauldian and Gramscian approaches.

We investigate this process in a longer historical perspective, 1830–1940. The main research questions are the following: In what ways did the popular education nurture a democratic mind, and on the other hand, what were the limits of this project – what habits and thoughts were branded non-democratic? Who was not considered a democrat, or not trusted to be part of the group of democratic citizens?

Collaborators: Samuel Edquist (director), Anne Berg
Department of Education, Uppsala University
Funding Body: Swedish Research Council

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