UPPSALA UNIVERSITY : Dept. of Studies in Education, Culture and Media : SEC : Research projects

Uppsala universitet

Bo G. Ekelund

Languages, Education, Society
In Swedish
Summary and full proposal (in Swedish)


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, Uppsala University

Donald Broady, PhD in Education, Prof., SEC, Uppsala University

Mikael Börjesson, PhD in Education, Lecturer, SEC, Uppsala University

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, Uppsala University

Monica Langerth-Zetterman, PhD in Education; Lecturer, SEC, Uppsala University

Ida Lidegran, PhD in Education; Director of study, coordinator, SEC, Uppsala University

Ola Winberg, MA in History; Researcher, SEC, Uppsala University


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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Uppdaterad | Updated: 2010-03-16 
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