Ämnesintegrering och ämnesspecialisering

SO-undervisningen i Sverige 1980-2014


  • Johan Samuelsson Karlstads universitet




A major issue in Swedish and international research has, indeed, been the overriding purpose of social studies, along with the recurring discussion on whether the teaching of social studies should be organised in the individual subjects or be subject-integrated. The main aim of this article is to analyse how social studies as a specific field of study is featured in government commissions of inquiry and steering documents in the period 1980-2014. The analysis is primarily based on American and Nordic history and social studies education theory, which has identified a number of concepts regarding the purpose and organization of the social studies subject; the humanistic approach; the progressively approach; the disciplinary oriented approach and the postmodern and interpretive approach. The article is based on an analysis of national evaluations and reviews of social studies as well as curricula and government commissioned inquiries. The analysis shows that social studies as a knowledge domain is characterized by progressivism in the national evaluations in the whole period. Although curricula nowadays have a disciplinary perspective on the purpose and organization of social studies, progressivism is still prevalent in evaluations. It is clear that the public authorities responsible for the most recent inspections embrace progressivism. Concurrent with the predominance of certain education philosophies– progressivism in 1980-2011 and the disciplinary perspective from 2011– there are also traces of other approaches in the curricula, for example, the humanistic as well as the postmodern perspectives.