Technology for a Sustainable Life. Images in Swedish Children’s Literature
2013 (English)In: PATT 27 Technology Education for the Future: A Playon Sustainability / [ed] P. John Williams & Dilani Gedera, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2013, 27-24 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
In the United Nations report Our common future sustainable development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Technology is seen as a kind of enabling force in that endeavour; new technologies are to be the solution to conflicts between growing economic activities and reductions in the use of natural resources. Sustainable development can, however, also be expressed as a set of traditional values that, in a country like Sweden, have been a part of everyday life for many generations. Education for sustainable development has been a goal in the Swedish national curriculum since 1994, not the least in the subject Technology. The teaching can evidently be inspired by both the international discussion on the future world and by the long tradition of how to live locally.
The aim of this paper is to investigate images of technology and how technology is linked to sustainable development in children’s literature. Our perspective is that such images represent values that are conveyed to the young generation. We have chosen to study books by four Swedish authors, Elsa Beskow, Inger Sandberg, Jan Lööf and Sven Nordqvist, all of them still read by many children, parents and teachers alike, both in and out of school. Technology is in the examined books portrayed in several modes: as a servant to man, as a deterministic force, as a loyal and “equal” companion to man and as a natural phenomenon in a nostalgic world. Technologies that have a leading role in the examined stories are placed in different kind of contexts, more or less social, more or less utopian or idyllic. In all four author’s writings there is an optimistic faith in children’s ability to choose the right path. Children are the ones who must take responsibility for the future and overcome the problems the current adult generation have created. From a gender perspective, the message in the majority of the stories is clear: men are the source of technological development.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hamilton, New Zealand, 2013. 27-24 p.
sustainability, technology education, children’s fiction, Sweden
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102535ISBN: 978-0-9922497-2-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-102535DiVA: diva2:678876
PATT27 Technology Education for the Future: A Play on Sustainability, Christchurch, New Zealand 2-6 December 2013