Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation,
Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies

No 113: The Persistent Differentiation - the education commission’s reform work 1724-1778

Thomas Kaiserfeld ()
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Thomas Kaiserfeld: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, Postal: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: The work of the Education Commission from 1745 is one of the more thoroughly studied investigations in Swedish administrative history in general, and the most studied in the Swedish history of education in particular. The aim here is therefore not to provide new empirical results. My hope instead is to be able to provide a different and broader interpretation of its activities than has thus far characterised historical writings on the work of the Commission. As our educational institutions – possibly with the exception of the family in all its various forms – are the most important agents for the vertical or inter-generational transfer of information in Western culture, reforms within this area are extremely valuable for understanding processes of change in our society. Changes to curricula are even more important than the appropriation of new knowledge through the transfer or production of knowledge, for example through research. Changes in education namely create dynamics in one of our most conservative cultural institutions, and are therefore decisive for the development of society in the longer term. For this reason, the battle for the content of education is important, not only for those who conduct it and those affected by it, but also for everyone who has an interest in historical change in general.

Keywords: education; institutions; institutional change

JEL-codes: B15

21 pages, February 26, 2008

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