History of education in the Nordic countries: an overview

In a rich overview of the development of the history of education in the Nordic countries, Johannes Westberg argues that it is marked by three phases, based on its institutional setting. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the history of education was written by schoolmen for schoolmen. In the post-war era, the discipline of education took increasing responsibility for the field. Since the 1980s, it has been a multidisciplinary research field based on the disciplines of education and history where history of education was combined with research in history education, sociology of education, child studies and educational policy. While the development of the history of education varied across the Nordics, this setting proved to be fertile. In terms of active researchers, output and coordination, the Nordic history of education clearly stands stronger now than it did 20 years ago, Westberg argues.

In a concluding section, he stresses that “the history of knowledge certainly has the scope to shed light on the history of education”. “This can be achieved by its emphasis on the broader social, cultural and political context of knowledge, which tends to be neglected in educational history focused on the narrower educational context of the content of education. Recent publications in the fields of the history of knowledge and the history of education indicate the promise of further cooperation”, Westberg concludes.

See: Johannes Westberg, “Bright Nordic Lights: A revitalised interdisciplinary history of education in the massified higher education of the Nordics”, History of Education (2022): https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0046760X.2022.2127003

Photo by Jené Stephaniuk on Unsplash

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