What Must a Swede Know?

The project What Must a Swede Know? examines the concept(s) of education implicitly assumed in the Swedish educational system: which ideals are explicitly formulated and on what tacit presuppositions, which educational aims are articulated as the ultimate function of education at different levels and how these are to be realized.

In higher education, the notion of Bildung is central but related to other forms of training and education: the project analyzes the transformation of the academic notion of education within the educational system as a whole and how the idea is negotiated to fulfill the purposes and goals of the distinctly Swedish phenomenon of a generously state- and community-sponsored program of adult continuing education. The ideals at work in the different parts of the Swedish system and how they have evolved are studied primarily through conceptual historical analysis in which classical sources are compared with the policy documents that cite them.

The project consists of four historical and systematic sub-studies of the Swedish educational system:

  1. The relation between classical conceptions of education and management by outcomes and objectives;
  2. The relation between the classical conception of education and standardized forms of academic practice;
  3. The idea of civics and democratic values in teachers ́ education as an expression of educational ideals;
  4. The educational ideals motivating adult continuing education programs.