History Wars in Sweden?

Johan Samuelsson


History teaching and learning in schools has been the subject of history culture wars in countries such as Sweden, Australia, the US, and Canada. In a Swedish-specific context, this and similar debates should be viewed in relation to the fact that throughout the twentieth century, governments in Sweden, as well as other countries, have regarded history teaching in schools as an important builder of national consciousness. At the same time, Sweden has undergone substantial demographic changes in recent decades. This article analyzes the different perspectives put forward in a debate on the school subject of history in Swedish education as a new syllabus was being introduced. Seixas’ approaches to history are used in the analysis.  The debate was initiated by historians who criticized the syllabus for the absence of the period of Antiquity. Leading politicians also participated. The collective memory approach was a central perspective on history in schools in the debate.  


History Wars; Social Studies Wars; Identity; Nation; Curriculum

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Johan Samuelsson

Historical Encounters is a double blind peer-reviewed, open access, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the empirical and theoretical study of historical consciousness, historical cultures, and history education.

The journal is published by the HERMES History Education Research Network concentrated at The University of Newcastle, Australia. The journal publishes at least two issues per year (one will typically have a special theme). To ensure timely availability of scholarship, articles and reviews are published as soon as they have been successfully through the peer review and editorial processes, adding cumulatively to the content for the single regular issue each year. No fees are charged for subscription or publication. The journal is indexed in SCOPUSDOAJ, and Google Scholar, and periodically archived in the National Library of Australia's PANDORA Archive. Contributors to the journal retain copyright to their work. Please read the Copyright Notice for full details.

SCImago Journal & Country Rank

Click here to download the Journal Information booklet, with complete Author Guidelines.

Follow us on Twitter: @HEJ_HERMES or #HistoricalEncounters

A/ Professor Robert J. Parkes, PhD
Editor-in-Chief | Historical Encounters
Faculty of Education and Arts
The University of Newcastle
Callaghan NSW 2308 Australia

All correspondence: editorialteam@hermes-history.net

ISSN 2203-7543