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Beyond the Educational Visions of the State: The Construction of School Buildings in Rural Nineteenth-Century Sweden

  • Johannes Westberg
Chapter
Part of the Educational Governance Research book series (EGTU, volume 9)

Abstract

While the architecture, educational ideas and material culture of nineteenth century school buildings have been properly investigated, we know less about the actual processes involved in designing and building schools. These processes are explored in this chapter, allowing the influence of local decision-makers, school designers, builders and workers on the dynamics between state governance and school design in Sweden, 1840–1900, to be examined. The analysis is based on a case study of 66 school building projects in the Sundsvall region, located in northern Sweden.

In this chapter, I will argue that the local design and building processes fundamentally influenced school design. The school districts’ organisation promoted low-cost alternatives and diversity among school buildings. Builders and architects adapted schools to the local sense of aesthetics, hygiene and appropriate temperature for classrooms, as well as the local needs to accommodate the areas’ school-aged children in the planned classrooms. In addition, the morals, organisational skills and knowledge of builders and building workers resulted in a diverse quality of the school buildings. In comparison with investigations focusing on national building plans, exploration of these local factors reveals a much more complex image of the relationship between state governance and school design, showing, once again, that what you want is not always what you get.

Keywords

School building Building process Nineteenth century Sweden 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Humanities, Education and Social SciencesÖrebro UniversityÖrebroSweden

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