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Det sinnesslöa skolbarnet: Undervisning tvång och medborgarskap 1925-1954
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2000 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The feeble-minded schoolchild : Education, coercion and citizenship 1925-1954 (English)
Abstract [en]

In 1944 special compulsory schooling for feeble-minded children was introduced in Sweden. This meant that these children could no longer be taught in ordinary elementary school classes. Instead they now had to be transferred to schools for the feeble-minded.

The main purpose of the study is to investigate the meaning assigned to feeble-mindedness, the arguments in favour of compulsory schooling for the feeble-minded, and the significance that it subsequently had for the citizenship of these individuals in society. For this purpose, articles published in 1925-54 in four professional journals, reports of inquiries, legislation, and material from two schools for the feeble-minded have been studied.

In the study the complexity that characterized compulsory tuition for the feeble-minded is revealed and related to contemporary welfare policy as a whole. Because of the special compulsory schooling, its institutional form, and the link to legislation on sterilization, the special education for the feeble-minded was to be both a form of tuition adjusted to the special needs of the children and an efficient instrument of control, at once a benefit and an imposition. The compulsory schooling made it possible to enrol feeble-minded children and keep them in the institutions, if necessary against their will and that of the parents. The sterilization laws also meant that sterilization could be made a condition for discharge. At the same time, the feeble-minded children were said to be given not only tuition adjusted to their abilities but also a suitable and sheltered environment in which to grow up with classmates of equal status and in many cases a better home than their parents could offer.

Arguments in favour of special tuition for the feeble-minded were that it prevented them from growing up into asocial adults, while furthering their development into socially well-adjusted citizens. Work and social adjustment were also the characteristics of the feeble-minded individuals- citizenship, as this was described both in the professional debate and in the parents- correspondence with the Storängen institution for the feeble-minded. However, this citizenship did not include the right to form a family and have children.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2000. , 395 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 220
Keyword [en]
Feeble-minded, Mental deficiency, Special education, Institution, Sterilization, History of Children and Childhood, Parents, Welfare State
Keyword [sv]
barn, specialundervisning, välfärdsstat, institutioner, föräldrar, sterilisering
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-29748Local ID: 15151ISBN: 91-7219-875-3OAI: diva2:250565
Public defence
2000-12-09, Sal Elysion, Hus-T, Universitetsområdet Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2014-09-12Bibliographically approved

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Areschoug, Judith
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Department of Child StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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