Why study literature? legitimations in five literature textbook?

Forskningsoutput: KonferensbidragSammanfattning


Why study literature? Legitimations in five literature textbooks Research shows that interest in and reading of fiction has declined among young men in recent years in Sweden. Students also have difficulties understanding the dominant position of literature in school. Since literature has a key role in the curriculum, an important question is how today’s literature textbooks legitimize the study of literature. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the dominant legitimations of literature study in five literature textbooks for the upper secondary school in Sweden and how these legitimations are realized textually and visually. The presentation is based on my thesis (Dahl 2015). The theoretical framework is based upon social semiotics, multimodal discourse analysis (Kress & van Leeuwen 2006, Björkvall 2008) and the concept of legitimation (van Leeuwen 2007, Persson 2007) and voice (Fairclough 1992, 1995, Ledin 1999). The following questions are used to analyze legitimations in the material: 1) Are the legitimations strong or weak? Is there any strong, in the sense of profound all-embracing legitimation for literary study? 2) Are the legitimations explicit or implicit? 3) Are the legitimations positive or negative? Do the textbooks formulate positive or negative arguments in connection with the study of literary? 4) Is the study of literature oriented to the text itself or is it considered as a means to gain non-literary knowledge? 5) Are the legitimations formulated in individual or social terms? 6) What different types of substantial legitimations can be distinguished in textbooks (for example, aesthetic, ethical, existential, political)? The result indicates several similar legitimations: the study of literature is associated with personal growth, pleasure and how history affects the present. It also shows how visual resources as well as specific voices are used to underpin interpersonal relations in order to convey the legitimations. However the legitimations are realized differently in textbooks with different disposition. In predominantly chronologically organized textbooks the legitimations emphasize images depicting historical artifacts, the cultural value of the authorship and genre discussions. Thematically organized textbooks concentrate on legitimations concerning contemporary literature and images, identification and the interplay of the reader and the text. One conclusion is that albeit all textbooks in this research are intended for the theoretical programs at the upper secondary school the textbooks convey different discourses of literature and thus provide different conditions for the teaching of literature which raise the question of equivalence. A second conclusion is that the interplay between the textbook author and the reader is emphasized, although there is a lack of critical and analytical perspective. There are generally few references to contemporary theory, and male/female authorships are treated unequally. All in all the textbooks seem to be more concerned with convincing students, in text and images, to read literature than actually provide them with substantial analytical tools. References: Dahl, C. (2015). Litteraturstudiets legitimeringar: Analys av skrift och bild i fem läromedel i litteratur för gymnasieskolan. Diss. Göteborgs universitet: Instituitonen för litteratur, idéhistoria och religion. Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and Social Change. Cambridge: Polity Press. Ledin, P. (1997). Intertextualiet, smärta och ett mångstämmigt apotek. In R. Andersson & P. Åström (Eds.), Till Barbro. Texter och tolkningar tillägnade Barbro Söderberg den 23 september 1997 (pp. 63–86). Stockholm: Stockholms universitet. van Leeuwen, T. (2007). Legitimation in discourse and communication, Discourse & Communication, 1 (91), p. 91–112. Persson, M. (2007). Varför läsa litteratur? Om litteraturundervisningen efter den kulturella vändningen. Lund: Studentlitteratur 2007.

StatusPublicerad - 2019
Evenemang15th Iartem Conference, Odense -
Varaktighet: 1980-jan-01 → …


Konferens15th Iartem Conference, Odense
Period80-01-01 → …

Nationell ämneskategori

  • Humaniora och konst (6)


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