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Den folkligt bildade politikern: Akademiska kunskaper och det symboliska kapitalets logik inom den socialdemokratiska riksdagsgruppen i Sverige
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Adult Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences. (Vuxenpedagogik och folkbildning)
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Adult Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.
2015 (Swedish)In: Nordisk kulturpolitisk tidskrift, ISSN 1403-3216, E-ISSN 2000-8325, Vol. 18, no 2, 233-249 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Globally speaking, parliamentarians tend to be more highly educated than their average constituent. In some countries, such as Great Britain and France, there is also a clear link between political power and some certain educational institutions, such as Cambridge and Oxford, which have become important roads to a successful political career. The Swedish political elite differs from this pattern. Even though Swedish parliamentarians generally have a higher education than the average Swede, having an academic education has not been a necessity for a successful political career. This is particularly evident in the Social Democratic Party, which is Sweden’s largest party. Non-academic educational pathways have been of great importance. Historically, popular education, particularly certain «folk high schools», have served as an alternative educational portal for politicians. Is this still the case? What forms of education and knowledge are currently important portals for entering the political elite in Sweden? This paper explores these questions, using interviews with Social Democratic MPs and data from Statistics Sweden on MPs' educational background. Bourdieu's concept of symbolic capital is used to analyze how different skills and educational experiences confer value within the Social Democratic Party. The results show that there are a number of different types of knowledge and experience that are considered of great value. The value of academic knowledge exhibits a great deal of ambivalence. In terms of exchange value (e.g. academic degrees), academic knowledge is conferred low value and is often downplayed narratively. At the same time, however, in terms of use value, academic knowledge is acknowledged to have considerable utility as academic education is seen to facilitate the reading of political documents that forms a large part of MPs' daily lives. The results also suggest that non-formal education still appears to be a highly valued educational pathway to political power in Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Högskolan i Borås, 2015. Vol. 18, no 2, 233-249 p.
Keyword [en]
higher education, popular education, parliamentarians, symbolic capital, the social democratic party, sweden, political elites
Keyword [sv]
folkbildning, riksdagsledamöter, symboliskt kapital, socialdemokraterna, sverige, politiska eliter, högre utbildning
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122709OAI: diva2:871964
Utbildningsvägar till makten
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-11-17 Created: 2015-11-17 Last updated: 2015-12-10Bibliographically approved

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Nordvall, HenrikMalmström, Louise
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Education and Adult LearningFaculty of Educational Sciences
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