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[Klistra in populärkulturell referens här]: Populärkultur i styrdokument och läroböcker för religionskunskapen på gymnasienivå
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
2014 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
[Insert popcultural reference here] : Popular Culture in the Curriculum and Textbooks for Religious Education at Swedish Upper Secondary School (English)
Abstract [en]

Popular culture is a phenomenon of growing importance in the society today. Children and teenagers are increasingly using popular culture in their everyday life to reflect and answer questions about their identities and the meaning of life. Swedish primary and upper secondary schools are expected to prepare their students for adulthood and to provide them with tools to explain understand and problematize contemporary society. From this perspective it is relevant to question whether the schools achieve this and whether the instruction given there represents the contemporary society. For the purpose of knowing more about how popular culture is perceived and dealt with in the Swedish education system, this study examines how eight textbooks in Religious Education (RE) and the national curriculum for upper secondary school discuss and treat popular culture.  The study focuses on when and in what ways the textbooks mention popular culture and if the curriculum provides any supportive base for including popular culture in religious education. The textual analysis of the RE textbooks illustrates that popular culture is seldom mentioned in the books and rarely discussed or reflected upon. The most common instances of popular culture in the textbooks are small references outside of the main text. The authors of the textbooks have thus not integrated thorough discussion about popular culture but rather added in some popular cultured references where they thought it would fit in the texts. With regard to the national curriculum for Religious Education, there is some recognition of how to use and discuss popular culture and its importance for students is acknowledged. However, this recognition is only explained in the comments to the curriculum and not in the document itself.   The apparent lack of popular culture in RE textbooks is in this study discussed from the perspective of power relations and popular culture perceived as a culture form with low status. As historians have asserted, cultural forms that have historically been called and perceived as low culture have also been used as objects for the exercise of power. While popular culture today has taken over functions that traditionally belong to the established religions, and while in some cases popular culture can be perceived as a form of religion, popular culture is still commonly viewed as a lower form of culture for the masses and consequently a cultural form with lower status.  This exercise of power has usually been downward in the social hierarchy, from middle class towards working class, to today’s groups of adults towards youth. It may be this trend that emerges when this study shows the lack of popular culture in RE textbooks. It is adults who write the curriculum, it is adults who write the textbooks and it is adults who teach in schools. Popular culture is said to belong to the young and therefore it does not have sufficiently high status to be brought in to the classroom. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 28 p.
Keyword [en]
Religious education, Upper secondary school, Curriculum, Textbook, Popular culture, High and low culture
Keyword [sv]
Religionskunskap, Gymnasiet, Läroplan, Lärobok, Populärkultur, Högkultur, Lågkultur
National Category
Religious Studies Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-35910OAI: diva2:731968
Subject / course
Religious Studies
Educational program
Lärarprogrammet, inriktning mot verksamhet i grundskolans senare år och gymnasiet
Available from: 2014-07-07 Created: 2014-07-03 Last updated: 2014-07-07Bibliographically approved

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