Gustav Vasa och skolans avfolkning

Undervisningens roll i förhandling om traditionell religion under tidig reformationstid i Sverige


  • Jakob Evertsson


The purpose of this article is to explain the declining number of pupils attending grammar school during the early Reformation period in Sweden. Although previous studies of the Reformation have presented some reasons for this change, scholars have not yet investigated the topic in a systematic way. The present article seeks to remedy this lack by identifying and analyzing several motifs. First, retraction of church property sparked protests against the schools in local parishes. Second, there was an unwillingness to pay tithes, which during the reign of Gustav I had been transferred from supporting traditional religious services to the funding of schools. Third, the educational system was weakened, which led to a shortage of educated clergymen, and questions arose about the significance of education. Fourth, the rise of a practical mentality led to more children taking up other occupations instead of attending school. Fifth, uncertainty about being able to earn a future income as a clergyman led to fewer people choosing to pursue these studies. Finally, the use of Swedish in schools was a manifestation of the Lutheran faith, which provoked protests among the people. All these motifs together contributed to parents choosing not to send their children to school, and were an expression of the ongoing negotiation about traditional religion which formed part of the slow transformation from Roman Catholicism to Lutheranism in Sweden in the sixteenth century.