Languages, Education, Society
(Språken, skolan, samhället)
Financed by The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)
Period Jan 2009-Dec 2011.
Project manager: Bo G Ekelund, PhD in English, lecturer
at the Department of English, Stockholm University; affiliated with SEC, Uppsala University.
Peter Bernhardsson, BA in History;
doctoral student, SEC, Uppsala University
Emil Bertilsson, BA in History; doctoral student, SEC,
Donald Broady, PhD in Education, Prof., SEC, Uppsala University
Mikael Börjesson, PhD in Education, Lecturer, SEC, Uppsala
Bo G. Ekelund, PhD in English, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of English, Stockholm University
Eva Hemmungs-Wirtén, Ph.D in Comparative
Literature, Prof., Library and Information Science, The Department of ALM,
Monica Langerth-Zetterman, PhD in Education; Lecturer,
SEC, Uppsala University
PhD in Education; Director of study, coordinator, SEC, Uppsala University
Ola Winberg, MA in History; Researcher, SEC, Uppsala
The situation for the modern languages in Swedish education has a paradoxical
appearance. In the past 50 years, the need for foreign language skills has
steadily increased. Yet, the modern languages have lost ground. The number of
students in advanced language studies is falling. Coming to higher education, students lack the requisite forehand knowledge. The future looks bleak, with only a few who wish
to become language teachers. Why, then, are the modern languages losing ground
in Swedish education? The research project Languages, Education and
Society will find answers by placing the study of the modern languages in a social
and societal context.
In one of the substudies, we will study the relations between social
background, choice of language or languages, grades in language courses, and
students' inclination to choose programs that focus on languages. Another study
will be dedicated to the phenomenon of studying languages abroad; this
remains a largely unexplored area, despite the fact that these trips
undoubtedly constitute a significant supplement to language study at home.
In a third study, the results from the previous studies provide a background
for the investigation of language in the hands of users. The relation of the modern languages to other subjects is
analyzed. We investigate how pupils, students and teachers evaluate
different languages, and we analyze their choices of language study. A case study of translators will give knowledge about the
educational trajectories of professionals whose main tool is their mastery
of other languages. Another in-depth study will focus on the relation
between translations and property rights.
In this project, sociologists of education, sociologists of literature
and historians collaborate. The empirical material comprises official
statistics, questionnaires and interviews. Large-scale statistical analyses
will be combined with case studies.
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