Att säkra framtidens skördar : Barndom, skola och arbete i agrar miljö : Bolstad pastorat 1860-1930

Abstract: This study deals with the interpretation and explanation of organized resistance to prolonged compulsory schooling in agrarian settings in Sweden at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. The area of investigation is the four parishes of Bolstad in Western Sweden. Bolstad was an agricultural district dominated by family farming. Here, the protests were both loud and vigorous, although not limited to Bolstad.In the 1920s, the Swedish compulsory school system had to fight a battle which has been described as "one of the most fiery that the school had ever gone through". The focus of this battle was the system of half-time schooling. This conflict has been interpreted in mainly three ways. Firstly, by focusing on a growing conflict between the state and the municipalities - the centralization theory; secondly, by focusing on the revised national curriculum of 1919, where education in religion was radically changed and reduced - the secularization theory; and thirdly, by focusing on the political conflict. The protests from rural areas against the new school reforms has been seen as an organized conservative strategy aimed at preserving an undemocratic society - the modernization theory.In this study, the conflict is analyzed from another perspective - the childhood theory. The conflict was about differing notions about what constituted a proper childhood in rural areas. Children in the type of family-farming economy predominant in Bolstad played a fundamental role. They were active working members of the family. The families were dependent on their children working and the conditions in family farming created a positive attitude towards child labour. This positive attitude also found support in the strong Lutheran tradition in Bolstad. There was no hostile attitude towards schooling per se among the population in Bolstad. But the school should be adjusted to local conditions. The half-time schooling system in Bolstad was thus a system which gave families and children time for both work and schooling. This is why the resistance against full-time schooling was so fiery.

  This dissertation MIGHT be available in PDF-format. Check this page to see if it is available for download.