Contact person:
Magnus Persson
  • Vetenskapsrådet/Swedish Research Council
Responsible at MaU:
Magnus Persson
External project members:
  • Elin Sundström Sjödin (Project leader) – Mälardalen University
  • Daniel Pettersson – Gävle University
Collaborators :
  • University of Gävle
  • Mälardalen University (coordinator)
Time frame:
01 January 2022 - 31 December 2024

About the research

This study explores in what ways reading is motivated as something valuable in public discourse. We investigate how societal institutions, local practitioners and researchers reason and make arguments about the necessity of reading. In this, we acknowledge a historical epistemic shift in the reasons and arguments put forward - from reading motivated by humanistic ideals to emphasizing the importance of reading with the use of ‘numbers’ aggregated through various measurements and quantifications.

The empirical material consists of three work packages.

  • The first consists of bibliometric and content analyses of peer-reviewed articles within scientific journals making scientific claims about reading.
  • In the second work package, we gather material from sites that specifically and publicly define themselves as promoters of reading, both from sites with traditionally governing functions and from commercial actors.
  • The last work package consists of interviews with primarily middle school teachers about their experience of using literature as educational content.

With the help of theoretical and methodological sensibilities from Science and Technology Studies (STS), we aim to trace and map the actors that take part in the legitimation and valuation of reading, as well as investigate in what ways and with the help of what actors reading becomes naturalized as a societal problem that school is expected to solve.