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  • Public defence: 2017-10-27 10:00 MA 624, Huddinge
    Bertilsson, Fredrik
    Södertörn University, School of Historical and Contemporary Studies, History of Ideas.
    Frihetstida policyskapande: Uppfostringskommissionen och de akademiska konstitutionerna 1738–17662017Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Regulating education is a vital part of government. This thesis is inspired by recent changes on the political landscape of higher education. It is guided by an interest in how political objectives and concepts of ideal social relationships are transformed and expressed through government university policies and their consequences. An early stage of what is now commonly referred to as the modern state and the modern research university, rather than present or relatively recent developments, will be explored. Instead of studying trends on the European continent, the thesis inquiries into an attempt made by the Swedish government to revise the constitutions of Swedish schools and universities through the so-called Educational Commission appointed in 1745.

    The purpose of the thesis is to apply a modern policy perspective to the Educational Commission’s attempt at reforming the constitution of the Swedish universities. The aim is to illuminate the construction of university regulations and to place this within a larger framework of policy making during the Age of Liberty (Frihetstiden) in Sweden.

    The Commission was an attempt by the Swedish government to implement educational changes based on a holistic view of the realm. It was one of several contemporary initiatives with nationwide ambitions. The Commission did not, however, succeed in reaching its formal objectives, but by placing too much emphasis on what the Commission did not achieve one risks overlooking other results and consequences. It initiated new communication structures, operating procedures and accountability schemes. It changed the regulations for assessing higher education making the university transparent and accountable to the government in new ways. New administrative routines for producing university reform were introduced.

    The Commission also provided university actors with a legitimate channel for voicing their opinions in relation to the government. They were given a legitimate position to formulate problems, questions and solutions regarding the university. The demands of the professors for increased autonomy in seeking knowledge and providing education stood against the claims made by the government for added control and insight into academic affairs. Through the Commission, the views of the professors were put into circulation in an official political context.