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Segregation and integration. Gender, class and citizenship in the Swedish education system, ca 1800-1850

Research project The project aims to analyse the importance of gender, class and citizenship in the development of education in Sweden, ca. 1800–1850. It focuses on the period before public primary schools, the amalgamation of various types of secondary school into one uniform model and the more widespread establishment of girls’ schools. The project poses new questions about an important formative period in the history of education.

By studying how established schools changed and new schools were developed and by analysing the processes of inclusion/exclusion of various groups or individuals depending on class or gender which took place in the schools, the project will contribute both to new knowledge about the development of the school system during the period 1800–1850 and to a theoretical discussion of how gender, class and citizenship have been construed in various forms of teaching. The project consists of three strands, which are linked by the common purpose: 1) Local education markets (Larsson) 2) Writing instruction for poor children (Karlsson Sjögren) and 3) Identity configuration in the rhetorical practices of schools (Rimm). The project addresses both qualitative and quantitative issues and therefore uses a combination of different methods. In addition to material from the church archives, poor relief archives and various schools’ archives, the regular school reviews and education committees also left behind valuable material. The reasoning behind decisions, evaluations of teachers’ efforts, as well as epistemological and pedagogical considerations are analysed using conceptual and argumentation analysis. The rhetorical practices are analysed on the basis of central content-related aspects, such as doxa, exempla and topoi.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period

2014-01-01 2016-12-31

Funding

The Swedish Research Council, 2014-2016: SEK 5,625,000

Research subject

Gender studies, History

Project description

Segregation and integration. Gender, class and citizenship in the Swedish education system, ca. 1800–1850
Purpose and aims
The project aims to analyse the importance of gender, class and citizenship in the development of education in Sweden, ca. 1800–1850. It focuses on the period before public primary schools, the amalgamation of various types of secondary school into one uniform model and the more widespread establishment of girls’ schools. The different types of school that emerged after 1850 have been the focus of several studies (such as Sjöberg 1996, Florin & Johansson 1993, Schånberg 2001), and as a result we currently have a fairly good picture of the structure of the school system in the late 19th century. The period before this has also been the focus of some investigation (see for example Lindmark 1994 and 1995, Rimm 2011), but the fact that the education system before 1850 consisted of a wide range of different forms of teaching brings a pressing need for new and more in-depth studies in the field.
In the early 19th century, there were schools for poor children and schools for better-off children, with mixed schools in between. There were girls’ schools, boys’ schools and mixed-sex schools. Questions of epistemological approach, gender and class played a key role in the establishment and development of each school. This underpinned decisions about the content of the curriculum, and pedagogical approaches. The syllabuses and teaching approaches in different schools were equally influenced by the gender and social class of the pupils, and by expectations of what their appropriate futures might be.
Against this background, there is a pressing need to investigate the origins of the obvious class and gender differences which came to characterise the education system of the late 19th century.
Survey of the field
Alongside Lindmark’s studies of the development of Swedish public education [folkundervisning] up to 1842, Sandin (1986) is one of the standard works in the field. One of Sandin’s most interesting findings is that schools in larger Swedish towns and cities increasingly segregated children from different social groups, a trend which dated from the 18th century. In the 19th century this trend intensified, and the School Act of 1820 is seen as a crucial step in separating public education from various types of secondary school.
The trend identified by Sandin is not unique to Sweden: similar lines of development can be found in other European countries. In France and England, for example, the term segmentation, has been used to describe the emergence of parallel school forms that differ from one another in terms of recruitment, curriculum and pedagogical approach (Ringer 1987, Simon 1987). Petterson (1992) has also drawn a similar picture of the development of the Swedish public education system in the 19th century. In studies of the introduction of the monitorial system in Sweden, he shows how this new method of teaching aimed to subordinate and control the growing group of poor and landless in Sweden (see also Larsson 2012a).
The system of parallel school forms that developed in Sweden has been investigated with regard to the late 19th century primarily by Florin & Johansson (1993, 1996), who have provided a picture of distinct and clearly defined educational cultures within primary schools, grammar schools, and girls’ schools. Viewed in the context of the development of the Swedish education system, the late 19th century can be described as a kind of constituent phase, based on Müller’s (1987) notion of the process of systematisation which characterised the 19th century education system. According to Florin & Johansson (1993), the amalgamation in 1849 of apologist schools, grammar schools and gymnasiums into a single institution represents, in this context, a clear demarcation between the formation phase of the education system and its constituent phase, which also explains why their study examined the mid-19th century onwards.
Although the chronology of the development described here is familiar, the process is far from clear. Sandin (1986) identifies The School Act of 1820 as a watershed, while other studies have pointed to the division of the secondary schools which took place at that time – into grammar schools and gymnasiums for those who wished to pursue an academic path and separate apologist schools for those who were destined for private business – as involving a kind of stratification of secondary schools (Åstrand 1976). For her part, Hedenborg, shows in her study of schools in Stockholm 1750–1820 that “the perception of boys in both the lower class and the middle class was at this time becoming more uniform with respect to education”. (Hedenborg 1997: 149).
The idea that there need not necessarily be any watertight bulkhead between the different social classes within the framework of a hierarchical education system has been highlighted by Marsden (2000), through his study of the English educational landscape of the later 19th century. England had a number of different types of school, which could be ranked hierarchically on the basis of social recruitment, (although some accommodated pupils from different social groups). He emphasized the role of market forces and parental choice in bringing about changes to this landscape. The importance of viewing education within a set of non-systematised educational institutions as a kind of market is also something that is highlighted by Beadie (2008) in her critique of how historical studies of education usually focus on a particular type of school.
Another problem in studies of education in the early 19th century is heterogeneity. As indicated by Stephens (1987), among others, any attempt to discuss clear national features within undeveloped education systems will always be regarded as a simplification of reality. Consequently much of our knowledge about the development of the education system before 1850 is based on studies of conditions in major towns and cities, in particular Stockholm (e.g. Sandin 1986, Hedenborg 1997). To counter this we need studies which will highlight local and regional variations in order to provide a picture of the diverse educational landscape that formed the basis of the education system that emerged during the latter half of the 19th century.
As well as being differentiated by class, we need to consider how schools, their curriculum content and their pedagogical approaches were shaped by gender. An interesting fact here is that in the girls’ schools and grammar schools, which mainly took their pupils from the upper echelons of society, there was a clear dividing line between girls and boys in terms of both schools and teaching content. In primary schools, on the other hand, children were taught together, regardless of sex, even if there was an opportunity to give girls more limited schooling (Kyle 1972). The idea that middle-class women should in this way receive a different education to their brothers is already clear to see in the “lady’s education” that emerged around the turn of the century ca. 1800. Berg’s (2009) study of conduct literature suggests that girls required an education that would place them in an intermediate social position, superior to their servants but at a respectful distance from the public political life of men.
Research that has examined the gendered differences of education more closely includes Crawford and Mayer’s separate studies of English and German city schools run specifically for poor and socially vulnerable children, which were founded in the 18th century. These studies both illustrate the relationship between class and gender. Crawford’s study has a particular focus on the relationships between the parents of the children and those who distribute poor relief (Crawford 2010, Mayer 2011), while Mayer analyses in more detail the curriculum content ca. 1780 to 1880 and shows how distinctions were made in the education of girls and boys, to the advantage of boys. Denmark also appears to have seen the same change (Henningsen 2007). With regard to Sweden, Sandin (1986) has observed that there were female teachers in his studied schools and that some schools had female pupils. Hedenborg (1997) also highlights the presence of female teachers in Stockholm schools. She shows that the education of girls became an issue in the late 18th century and suggests that the differences in the early 19th century were greater between boys and girls than between boys from different social classes. However, there are no more detailed studies of how these changes occurred. The importance of gender differences in education is confirmed by the fact that a question about it was included in the survey of the country’s rural parishes in connection with the state committee on education of 1812 (Lindmark 1994, Appendix 2). Of the responses received, it can be seen, for example, in the response from Hjälstad parish outside Skara that “the difference in education between the sexes cannot be discernibly different for Peasant children” (ÄK 851, RA).
Project description
The project consists of three strands, which are linked by the common purpose of analysing the significance of gender, class and citizenship in the development of education during the period up to the mid-19th century.
Strand 1: Local education markets, ca. 1800–1849 (Esbjörn Larsson)
To understand how local conditions were influenced by and adapted to the formal changes to the education system that occurred during the first half of the 19th century, this strand, in line with Beadie’s (2008) ideas about education markets, will examine more closely a number of different local contexts. A key aim is to discover which children attended which schools and how this shaped the school. What makes a study of this kind particularly interesting is the occurrence of a number of distinct changes in the education system during the first half of the 19th century. These include, for example, the introduction of apologist schools through The School Act of 1820, the arrival of monitorial system schools from the 1820s onwards and the statutory requirement to provide public primary schools enshrined in The Primary School Act of 1842. In addition to this, there is a gradual growth in both the number of schools and the number of children in education throughout the period (Klose 2011 [1992]).
Åstrand (1976) has stated that the apologist schools introduced through The School Act of 1820 became a kind of second-class school, which in many instances were more akin to primary schools than secondary schools (see also Larsson 2009). Åstrand’s results are partially confirmed by data gathered from the country’s grammar schools in connection with the 1824 review of the country’s secondary schools. Samples from these, however, show that there may have been even greater mobility between different schools (see Preliminary results below). In light of this data, it appears that the transition to a system of parallel school forms did not simply result from The School Act of 1820. Instead, it seems that the individual schools were forced to adapt to the prevailing conditions, including the pupil flows of the time.
The questions which this strand intends to answer relate, on the one hand, to the impact of political decisions on school practice: What were the practical impacts on the school system of the changes which resulted from The School Act of 1820 and the The Primary School Act of 1842, for example? What did pupil flows, of boys and girls, look like in the different types of school? How did these changes affect the ability to provide teaching? On the other hand, changes in society also prompt questions about how, for example, the growing population and changing class structure influenced the school structure. How were local education markets affected by demographic change? How did these changes affect the perception of how the school system should be organised?
The main sources for this strand are the regular school reviews and the survey that was conducted in connection with the state committee on education of 1812. These give a fairly good picture of the development at the milestones of 1813, 1824, 1832 and 1843. On this basis, a number of geographical locations will be selected in different parts of the country to give a good spread for more thorough studies using the various grammar and girls’ school archives and data on public education, primarily from the current parish church archives.
Strand 2: Writing instruction for poor children before primary schools (Åsa Karlsson Sjögren)
The strand examines the literacy of poor children, with focus on writing instruction. The ability to read and write has been discussed in connection with the industrialisation and economic development of rural areas, both in Sweden and internationally (Stone 1969, Graff 1981, Nilsson & Svärd 1994, Pettersson 1996). Research into literacy in Sweden has been at the forefront internationally and has quite rightly highlighted differences in function between reading and writing skills during the period before primary schools. While the ability to read was one of the cornerstones of religious practice, the ability to write was a much more exclusive skill, particularly in rural areas (Johansson 1981, Lindmark 1994 & 2004, Bergström 2000). Markussen has demonstrated the important role played by religion in the increased writing ability in the Nordic countries, particularly Denmark (1990). Larsson is completing a project on the monitorial system in Sweden during the 19th century. The study shows that writing lessons were introduced along with the monitorial system in several schools and that girls were also able to learn to write in these schools. However, it was more common for boys to receive writing lessons (2012b).
This strand analyses the significance of gender, class and citizenship when writing lessons were introduced in city schools for poor children around the turn of the century ca. 1800. On whose initiative were writing lessons introduced and what were the arguments for such teaching? What similarities and differences existed in the perception of the need of poor girls and boys for these skills, both in terms of their conditions for learning and their assumed future role in society? What pedagogical considerations governed teaching? What requirements were made in terms of the competence of female and male teachers and how were their abilities and weaknesses described? How successful were the schools? How did the various types of school differ in terms of the performance of boys and girls?
The strand will lead to a deeper understanding of how writing instruction was introduced before The Primary School Act of 1842. It will achieve this through a comparative study of sources from single-sex and mixed-sex schools for poor children in three cities and towns with very different natures: the academic city of Uppsala, the trading town of Gävle, and Stockholm, where the problem of poverty appears to have been most evident at this time.
Strand 3: Formulation and formation. Identity configuration in the rhetorical practices of schools ca. 1800–1850 (Stefan Rimm)
In earlier schools, rhetoric, or eloquence, formed the basis of a representative culture. Through various rhetorical practices, the early modern Latin Schools (trivial schools, cathedral schools and gymnasiums) had been able to construct and inwardly and outwardly justify learning’s place in society and thereby contribute to the configuration of a learned male identity among schoolboys and young men. Through outward rhetorical activities, the status of both teachers and pupils and the schools themselves was maintained as rhetorical actors in various early modern public arenas (Rimm 2011).
During the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, however, there was a change in the status of rhetoric as both an aesthetic and communicative ideal in society (Rimm 2011, Fischer 2013). Nevertheless, many of the schools’ rhetorical practices not only survived in the traditional Latin School and its successor, but were also picked up by new groups in the new types of school which gained ground over the first half of the 19th century. The school of the new century had varying degrees of connection to the older academic traditions at a time when new social changes and waves of ideas were also able to form the basis of identity formation (Wennås 1966, Niléhn 1975, Florin & Johansson 1993, Norlin 2010, Berg 2011). The major changes to the education system and Swedish society in general provide grounds for studying how the function and form of the schools’ rhetorical practices developed: both in the Latin Schools and the new secondary schools, and in other branches of the emerging school system.
By comparing the outward identity-oriented rhetorical activity – for example, in speeches on graduation and at the end of term and at other ceremonial gatherings – in grammar schools with that in apologist schools or girls’ schools, for example, we can answer questions about how individuals were socialised by varying configurations of identity categories. What distinguished exemplary pupils in different types of schools? What life paths were expected after school? What were the differences between how the place of boys and girls in society, the family and school was represented? How were different estates or classes represented in relation to one another and to society at large? How were pupils to become citizens?
The identity configurations of both individual pupils and the schools themselves are illustrated using rhetorical practices and analysed using mainly classical rhetorical concepts. Of particular importance here are the content-related aspects which, for example, deal with the relationship to the prevailing doxa (prevailing current views and commonly held beliefs), the use of exempla (model and deterrent examples) and topoi (sources of information, here in particular person-oriented ones, including individual virtues and vices).
To achieve this, this strand will compare material from cities and towns with both grammar schools and other types of schools; mostly these are cathedral cities such as Gävle, Gothenburg, Härnösand, Linköping, Lund, Skara, Stockholm, Uppsala, Växjö and Örebro.
Theory: class, gender and citizenship
The project aims to analyse how the emerging school system can be understood in the context of a developing citizenship. Citizenship as a theoretical concept has proven useful in understanding and interpreting various social changes, not least from a gender perspective (Lister 1997, Canning & Rose 2001). Although gender researchers have pointed out the concept’s limitations, it has been used frequently. Alongside Marshall’s classic distinction between civil, political and social citizenship (Marshall 1951), citizenship has been discussed on the basis of concepts such as identity, culture, economics and sexuality (Stevenson 2001, Kessler-Harris 2001, Richardson 1996 & 2001). Gender researchers have further developed Marshall’s observations that citizenship is under constant renegotiation. Walby shows how a gender perspective opens “the way to discuss degrees of citizenship obtained by different groups at different times” (Walby 1994, p. 381).
The project addresses a formative period which is characterised by the gradual break-up of the estate society and its replacement with a class society in which citizenship was an important foundation. The emerging citizenship needed to be defined and given content. It could be about access to politics, or about civil or social rights. There is a clear connection between the development of schools and poor relief and this change. This relates partly to the groups which were pushing to reform and extend education and poor relief, and which, through their work, defined themselves as citizens and the area as political. It was also about the groups of people whose survival depended on the outcomes of these reforms and how they were regarded; parents and children. Citizenship can be about both inclusion and exclusion; about how inclusion in an aspect of citizenship (such as economic or civil citizenship) also gave access to political citizenship, but also about how inclusion in social citizenship led to the exclusion of other aspects of citizenship (civil or political).
Method and materials
The project addresses both qualitative and quantitative issues and therefore uses a combination of different methods. For a long time, there was no national regulation of anything other than the state funded Latin Schools, and the number of different types of schools with different principals results in a lack of uniform source material. These differences will be taken into account in the analysis. The abilities and progress of the children, as demonstrated in the examinations of individual schools, will be quantified as far as possible and then analysed in relation to qualitative judgements in reports and other documents. In addition to providing knowledge about different forms of financing, as well as expenses such as salaries, financial accounts give a clearer picture of the actual activities, for example through the purchase of school supplies.
The reasoning behind decisions, evaluations of teachers’ efforts, as well as epistemological and pedagogical considerations are analysed as they are expressed in the reports and, for example, advertisements in local newspapers, using conceptual and argumentation analysis. The rhetorical practices are analysed on the basis of central content-related aspects, such as doxa, exempla and topoi.
In addition to material from the church archives, poor relief archives and various schools’ archives, the regular school reviews and education committees also left behind valuable material. Of these, the survey responded to by the consistories and the country’s clergymen in connection with the state committee on education of 1812 is a particularly important source. What makes this survey so interesting is that it is considered to be a kind of census, in that it was directed at both the state funded Latin Schools and the country’s parishes. As a result, it provides a picture of the overall educational opportunities, from itinerant schoolmasters in rural areas to gymnasiums and cathedral schools in the larger cities. The material submitted is in itself disparate and presents some source-critical problems (see Lindmark 1994, Appendix 1), but in many cases is very rich.
Timetable and implementation
The project is estimated to take three years. The project participants will devote the first year to the collection and processing of materials, and will present interim results at conferences and workshops. The analysis of sources will continue in year 2 and peer-reviewed articles will begin to be produced. The project will organise an international workshop with specially invited experts in the field. Year 3 is devoted to the completion of articles in parallel with various research exchanges. Karlsson Sjögren and Larsson are experienced researchers with established contacts with various research groups and networks, as well as with established publishing channels, thus ensuring project implementation and quality. Stefan Rimm is an early-career historian of education and an expert in rhetoric who has recently been recruited as a senior lecturer in Örebro. Through his doctoral thesis, he has gained an in-depth knowledge of the Latin School, which is of great benefit to the project. The pilot studies already carried out show that the material is ripe for more in-depth studies. It is considered that the various sub-projects can be carried out within the time frame and scope applied for.
Project organisation
The project consists of two historians and a rhetoric historian who are based at three locations: Umeå (project manager Åsa Karlsson Sjögren), Uppsala (Esbjörn Larsson) and Örebro (Stefan Rimm). The group will work closely on issues of both methodology and theory. Regular project meetings, workshops and seminars will be held in Uppsala and Umeå, where there are established educational science environments which are important for the project. The scholar in Umeå will need to travel to visit archives, primarily in the Uppsala-Stockholm region and the project meetings will be held in connection with these trips. Project meetings will also be held in conjunction with conferences.
The project manager has broad and in-depth experience of historical research in several fields and time periods, in particular with regard to issues of gender history. She has worked on various research projects, both individually and in collaboration with others, in Sweden and internationally. Within the steering committee for UGPS (Umeå Group for Premodern Studies) and the PI group (Partner Investigator) of Gender as a strong research environment at Umeå University, Karlsson Sjögren has worked to establish and maintain international contacts through guest research programs, exchange agreements, international recruitment of post-doctoral researchers, etc.
Significance
The project poses new questions about an important formative period in the history of education. By studying how established schools changed and new schools were developed and by analysing the processes of inclusion/exclusion of various groups or individuals depending on class or gender which took place in the schools, the project will contribute both to new knowledge about the development of the school system during the period 1800–1850 and to a theoretical discussion of how gender, class and citizenship have been construed in various forms of teaching.
Preliminary results
Karlsson Sjögren presented a pilot study of pupils’ writing ability in two Gävle schools at a Nordic history of education conference in Umeå in 2012. In one school, a girls’ school with a female teacher, writing lessons were introduced on the initiative of the parents. Here, the girls quickly produced nice, clear results. The other school taught both boys and girls, and the tendency was that the boys were more successful in acquiring the skills. An analysis of gender and teachers’ abilities was presented at the European Social Science History Conference in Glasgow in 2012, which demonstrated complex relationships between the expectations of the teachers on the basis of both their gender and social background.
Larsson’s preliminary study of the 1824 review indicates that mobility between different schools may in some cases have been even greater than previously thought. From Gävle grammar school (högre lärdomsskola), for example, it is reported that the school lost more than 60 pupils in the early 1820s, partly because of rising tuition fees, but partly as a result of the creation of a monitorial system school in the city. Other schools, such as Stockholm’s Storkyrkoförsamling’s lower apologist school, were flooded with poor young boys, when the parish’s poor school closed in 1823. It is also mentioned in the reports from the Adolf Fredrik lower apologist school in Stockholm that at the same time they were forced to depart from the requirements of the School Act because of all the poor children who were accepted and who on their arrival could not even read the ABC book (ÄK 854, RA).
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