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Det var en gång ett land... : Berättelser om svenskhet i historieläroböcker och elevers föreställningsvärldar

Once Upon a Time There was a Country… : Narratives About “Swedishness” in History Textbooks and Students’ Worldviews
  • Ingmarie Danielsson Malmros
Publiceringsår: 2012
Språk: Svenska
Dokumenttyp: Doktorsavhandling
Förlag: Agerings bokförlag


The first purpose of this dissertation is to encircle meaning conveying narrations about Sweden and “Swedishness” in history textbooks, published between 1931 and 2009. The second aim is to show which of these narratives, or parts of them, that are expressed by a selection of contemporary students. Another ambition has been to show how textbook narratives have been transferred or transformed over time and what factors may have influenced these changes. An overall goal of the thesis has been to emphasize the existential dimensions of the subject of history. It is through narrations that individual and collective identities are constructed.

The dissertation has a hermeneutical perspective, and derives inspiration from the methods of narrative theory and conceptual history, primarily from the thoughts of Paul Ricoeur, Hayden White, Jörn Rüsen, Reinhart Koselleck and Quentin Skinner.

Five meta-narratives about “Swedishness” are identified in the material: the narrative of neutrality, the narrative of the prosperity or welfare country, the narrative of the role model country of democracy, the narrative of the stranger and the narrative of the world’s most gender equal country. Certain narrations seem to have had a stronger position than others in the macro-rhetoric and the culture of history, with the result that the other narratives will be adapted to the dominant narrative moral. The various narratives have therefore interacted more during certain periods than others, which would have meant a greater potential to affect the narrative identity. When trying to find any comprehensive explanations for the changes one can look for answers in the authors’ intentions and personal experiences, events contemporary with the authors and the historical cultural context in which the narratives are rooted. In general the historical cultural context has had the greatest influence over the narratives’ design.

All of the textbook narratives are represented in the student texts, but they are often constructed across different time spans and have a slightly different moral. The moral of the narratives, both of the textbooks’ and the students’, is often that the Swedes are morally superior.


Sal 3, historiska institutionen, Magle stora kyrkogata 12, Lund
  • Bengt Kristensson Uggla (Professor)


  • History
  • History of didactics
  • history textbooks
  • students' worldviews
  • narration
  • collective identity
  • historical consciousness
  • use of history
  • Swedish history
  • narrative theory
  • conceptual history


  • Klas-Göran Karlsson
  • Ulf Zander
  • ISBN: 978-91-86119-15-7

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