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Pojkars problematiska läsning : en diskursanalys med utgångspunkt från Läsandets kultur (SOU 2012:65)


  • Kåkå Olsen

Summary, in English

When it comes to reading, there are rather large differences between boys and girls in skill and frequency, and these differences have persisted for decades. For the last few years I have sensed an increasingly negative image of boys and men in the ”public conversation”. What to read is a matter of personal choice, yet this personal choice is, in this conversation, connected to war, men’s violence against women and misogyny in general. In contemporary research, boys’ declining school results has been described as being a “boy problem”, and the answer has been to question “boy culture” (and using girls’ school performance as the good example).

But I don’t want to ”sense”. I would like to ”know”. Therefore I set out to examine the discourse on boys and men and their reading within a limited context. The recently published government report The Culture of Reading (SOU 2012:65) offered, together with the media reactions to it and the comments submitted to it, such a context. With Carol Lee Bacchi’s What is the Problem Represented to be-analysis (WPR) I examine what is said and assumed about boys and boys’ reading, what is left unproblematic and what the consequences are, but also how the problem representation has been defended and questioned.

In my study I revealed two discourses: “the literature discourse” and “the boy discourse”. In the former, ”quality literature” is lifted above other genres; in the latter, boys are constructed as being problematic, resistant and unwilling. Also, the boy discourse leaves no room for other ways of being a boy. These two discourses are intertwined, as one of the solutions to “the boy problem” is not a broadening of the definitions of ”reading” and ”literature” to make place for genres generally appreciated by boys (such as non-fiction, science fiction and fantasy), but rather a prompting of boys to read “quality fiction”. In other words: Intimately connected with the discourse on boys’ reading are notions of quality, fine literature and the value of fiction. Thus, the view on boys and their reading is rather negative, and the view is not limited to this government report.

Carol Lee Bacchi, discourse analysis, boys’ reading, men’s reading, masculinity






Examensarbete för masterexamen (Två år)


  • Cultural Sciences


  • Carol Lee Bacchi
  • diskursanalys
  • pojkars läsning
  • mäns läsning
  • maskulinitet


  • Olof Sundin (Professor)