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Härskarrasen, folkmaterialet och de mongolida finnarna: Raser, rasbiologi och rashygien i svenska läroböcker i geografi och biologi under drygt hundra år
Södertörn University College.
2008 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 10 poäng / 15 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study investigates the treatment of race biology and related subjects in Swedish schoolbooks from 1873 to 1994, with special emphasis on the “gymnasium”-level. The concept of race biology has several connotations: it is at one hand related to physical anthropology and at the other to eugenics. Like in Germany the latter was in Sweden first called “racial hygiene”. After an introduction giving the historical background the books are reviewed for their content on this matter. The conclusions drawn are as follows:

1. During the late 19th century and early 20th century, mental, cultural and physical appearances of peoples from various parts of the world are discussed with little emphasis on the distinction between race (as a biological concept) and culture.

2. Finns and Lapps are in early books considered as belonging to the Mongolian race. This may be understood in terms of the confusion between classification of race and language but also of at the time prevailing theories of Sweden’s racial history.

3. Around 1930 a distinction between race, as a biological concept, and people, as a linguistic and cultural concept is pronounced. Personality characteristics are attributed to biological races.

4. The dark-skinned African and Australian populations are treated with special disrespect, whereas the lighter-skinned Polynesians are discussed with high esteem.

5. The teachings of the Nazi racialist H. F. K. Günther have a decisive impact on the treatment of in particular European ”races” and their mental characters on at least one author. Even the word “master-race” is used for the Nordic race. The most controversial parts of this teaching are removed in 1945.

6. From the 1950’s onward the interest in races is diminished in books in geography, and in the biology books racism is generally condemned.

7. Eugenics (racial hygiene) is advocated in biology books into the 1970’s, in a manner close enough to be called political propaganda. The low efficiency of sterilisation against Mendelian recessives is generally presented. The Swedish sterilisation policies at the time are presented in detail in the biology books.

8. Traditional race classification is present still in the 1980’s, even with regard to the European “racial types”. Much attention is given to the “extreme” racial crossing between Europeans and Hottentots.

9. In a biology book from 1967, control of the third world population explosion (in itself a theme from the 1950’s onward) is explicitly discussed in the context of eugenics.

10. When modern in utero diagnostic methods are discussed in the 1990’s, eugenics is not concerned.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. , 106 p.
Keyword
Eugenics, Scientific Racism, School Biology, School Geography, Sweden
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-1760OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-1760DiVA: diva2:108
Supervisors
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Available from: 2008-09-09 Created: 2008-09-04 Last updated: 2008-09-09

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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