Ur nordisk kulturhistoria : XVIII Nordiska historikermötet Jyväskylä 1981. Mötesrapport 3, Läskunnighet och folkbildning före folkskoleväsendet
Published inStudia historica Jyväskyläensia
Part of the work has restricted access. Therefore the material can be read only at the archival workstation at Jyväskylä University Library reserved for the use of archival materials.
In this study literacy and popular education before the establishment of the primary school system in the Nordic countries are examined. General aspects of public instruction are also discussed in considerable detail. In a way, the present study builds upon an earlier research tradition in the Nordic countries which had already weakened. Some parts of the study are based on completely new research work. It can be regarded as a Nordic expression of opinion in the literacy discussion which has arisen in the Western countries during the past few decades. In this study the actual level of literacy in the Nordic countries is examined during a long period of time by means of different methods reflecting differences in primary data. A distinction is made between ecclesiastical literacy, fundamentally based on rote learning, on the one hand, and general literacy, applicable to the reading of texts of all kinds, on the other. As for Iceland, the possible retention of the medieval popular reading tradition to later times and the efficient home instruction of reading are also dealt with. Before actual schools were established, literacy was closely connected with the preaching of the church. The ecclesiastical reading tradition did not bring with it such a widespread and thorough reading ability as was earlier widely assumed. Widespread literacy was of great significance in the Nordic countries in the formation of various bodies of officials and, consequently, in the unification of the states. The reinforcement of the position of one single language had clear political objectives. In remote areas, however, religious worship in the vernacular was allowed. At first, modern literacy, which brought economical and administrative benefits, spread through the influence of town schools. ...
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