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Att skola en stormakt: Framväxten av 1600-talets skolsystem genom lokalsamhällets aktörer

Publicerad:4 mars
Uppdaterad:24 maj

Pontus Folkesson har analyserat den skolreform som initierades av
Gustav II Adolf 1620 samt framväxten av det skolsystem som fastställdes genom 1649 års skolordning.


Pontus Folkesson


Professor Heiko Droste, Stockholms universitet. Docent Annika Sandén, Stockholms universitet


Docent Örjan Simonson, Folkrörelsearkivet för Uppsala län

Disputerat vid

Stockholms universitet



Abstract in English

This thesis shows how Swedish urban schools were reformed, expanded and developed into a school system following the 1649 school curriculum. While previous research has emphasized different educational needs within the context of normative school curriculum or in relation to the emerging power of the state, this study argues that the expansion of urban schools must be understood as a response to local community actors and their interests. Gustav II Adolf’s school reform comprised a resource-saving reorganisation. In spite of this reform, urban schools expanded, with the crown finally assuming the financial responsibility for the kingdom’s schools in 1649. This study examines the reasons for this using the diocesan towns of Västerås and Strängnäs and the market towns of Arboga, Nyköping, Södertälje and Örebro.

By using a wide range of source material, including school regulations, royal correspondence, cathedral copy books, matriculation registers and especially accounts, this book analyses the development of urban schools. Starting from the schools’ funding and how that funding was used, the study identifies different actors and their interests. The involvement of the local community, which responded to the school reforms and their educational interests, explains the expansion of urban schools between 1620 to 1649.

The results show that local community actors, such as bishops, the bourgeoisie, urban vicars and schoolmasters, played a crucial role in establishing and maintaining urban schools. In contrast to previous research, which has considered the growth of the state to be the result of negotiations between local actors and a central elite, the expansion of the urban schools up to 1649 should be seen as a reaction of local community actors to the state’s reduction of resources. The bourgeoisie and bishops then acted to reshape the original school reform that Gustav II Adolf had presented in 1620.

Rather than an unambiguous top-down or bottom-up process, the expansion of schools up to 1649 can be explained as the result of an interweaving of negotiations, conflicts and restructuring at different levels of society. These interactions led to a gradual hierarchization of existing schools in the kingdom’s towns, which were then incorporated into a new school system.

The political influence of the bourgeoisie was manifested by the preservation of the schools in the market towns; at the same time, their educational goals were incorporated into a common curriculum and school type for the entire kingdom, trivialskolan. The bishops successfully ran their prestige projects, gymnasieskolorna, which significantly strengthened the finances of the dioceses and made the diocesan towns prominent centers of education. At the same time, the crown’s influence over urban schools increased. Thus, the expansion of the kingdom’s schools up to 1649 can be regarded as a compromise of several actors’ interests.

The results of this thesis show how the bourgeoisie and the clergy succeeded in manifesting their political influence, which was usually formulated outside the more institutional contexts of the Riksdag. The schools functioned as arenas where local interests and resources were aggregated. The study provides new insights into how the schools’ actors influenced and shaped political decisions and processes, which were in turn significant for the overall social development of the early modern towns and the formation of the state in 17th-century Sweden.

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