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The School Canon: A Study about a Possible School Canon of English Literature at Swedish Upper Secondary Schools
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this essay has been to examine whether there is a school canon for fiction in the teaching of English at upper secondary schools in Sweden and how such a canon takes shape. The study has been carried out by compiling lists of books and interviewing teachers in the region of western Kronoberg. There turned out to be a number of books that were recurring in the schools such as Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and Stone Cold by Robert Swindells. The study found a few patterns in the school canon which the mentioned titles fit well into. The books of the school canon turned out to mainly be either classics or youth novels. It was also found that the books of the school canon mainly portrayed the Anglo-Saxon world and that the main characters were mostly boys/men which the school canon has in common with the Western canon.

The theoretical approach has been that of cultural capital as presented by John Guillory. His ideas of canon formation, which is mainly focused on the Western canon, are compared to the formation of a school canon. This essay claims that the shaping of the school canon has some things in common with Guillory’s ideas of canon formation but since the school canon has a clear purpose in that the literature has to be suitable for teaching and teachers in interviews claim universities are losing influence over school’s literature selection, teaching aspects play a greater part in the shaping of a school canon.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Canon, Education, English literature, School canon
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-24738OAI: diva2:610565
Subject / course
Educational program
Lärarprogrammet, inriktning mot verksamhet i grundskolans senare år och gymnasiet
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2013-03-18 Created: 2013-03-12 Last updated: 2013-03-18Bibliographically approved

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Department of Languages
General Literature Studies

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