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Representing Sweden

A diachronic study of names and illustrations in Swedish textbooks from the 20th and 21st centuries

Emilia Aldrin

Pages 63 - 78

Abstract: This article presents the results from an ongoing project on naming patterns in Swedish textbooks from the 1920s to the 2010s, focusing on changing representations of gender and cultural diversity. Personal names are closely related to personal, social, and cultural identities, and this article therefore argues that the use of such names in textbooks contributes to indicating to pupils who should (and who should not) be seen as part of society, who is considered important enough to know by name, who is desirable to identify with and which names are considered appropriate for a certain identity. Six social science textbooks were analyzed using both quantitative analyses (of names) and qualitative analyses (of the illustrations of named and unnamed people). The results show how and to what extent the use of gendered and culturally marked personal names in social science textbooks changed over the period of study and emphasize some of the tensions involved in this process.


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