Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
The purpose of this work has been to understand the reading group from the perspective of the society. The study
has taken place in the city of Västerås and the results can thus not be used in a more generalized sence. By
focusstudies conducted with members from four different reading groups connected in different ways to the library
in Västerås I have reached the following conclusions.
According to Jürgen Habermas theories the reading groups, with their ideals regarding education and meetings
where everybody are equals, belong in the part of the public sphere that he calls literary. There are some
connections to the political sphere, for exempel the down to earth quality of the literature that is the choice of
the groups and their way of discussing it.
One problem that occures when one tries to apply Habermas idéas regarding the public sphere on reading
groups is that the criteria Habermas considers as vital to sphere for it to work properly does not seem to work
on the reading groups. Inclusion, eqality and freedom of subjects are necessary to create a public sphere. However,
in order to create reading groups that truly appeals to everybody and not just swedish women in their sixties
and above it seems as if you have to create particulare reading groups for every segment of the population.
The study also recognizes the great importance of the library for well working reading groups. Their expertice,
their choice of books and the meeting-place they offer the groups are greatly appreciated while the rea -
ding groups reciprocate by giving the library hints about interesting literature, how to place the furnitures and
such things. Considering Jürgen Habermas theories it seems as if the reading groups can be considered as a
part of the representative public sphere that is constituted by the library as well as a literary public sphere.
Finaly the stydy conclude that it seems as if the swedish library in question has lower expectations on the
reading groups than its english counterparts.
This work is to be considered as a two years master´s thesis in the academic field librarian- and informa -
2011. , 70 p.