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Poor laws and schooling in Stockholm

Kerstin Holmlund (Department of Education, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden)

History of Education Review

ISSN: 0819-8691

Article publication date: 21 June 2013




The purpose of this paper is to utilize illustrative examples from the industrialisation period in Sweden to analyse the interlace between poor legislation and school legislation.


It deals with how state regulation and societal transformations intervened in the lives of poor children and their parents. In particular, this article examines how collaboration between schools and poor relief resulted in normative judgements about their social inclusion and exclusion.


Overall, the article illuminates a new era in the history of social policy, an epoch when old assumptions were abandoned and fresh links were forged between industrialisation, national economics, education, gender relations, and social welfare. These changes are clarified not only by reference to nineteenth century sources but also to national and international research, and ideas about capital and gender relations associated with, among others, Hannah Arendt and Pierre Bourdieu.


The study illustrates how and why the official public spirit affects children and why understanding of this relationship needs to be broadened as well as deepened.



Holmlund, K. (2013), "Poor laws and schooling in Stockholm", History of Education Review, Vol. 42 No. 1, pp. 40-54.



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