Förbrytelser och förvisningar: Bestraffningssystemet i de svenska läroverken 1905–1961

  • Datum:
  • Plats: Sal X, Biskopsgatan 3, 753 10, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Larsson, Germund
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Institutionen för pedagogik, didaktik och utbildningsstudier
  • Kontaktperson: Larsson, Germund
  • Disputation


The aim of this dissertation is to analyse the system of punishment at the upper secondary schools in Sweden during the twentieth century. The main research question is: how did the system of punishment function and change from 1905 to 1961? The investigations concentrate on the offences committed, the spatial features of the jurisdiction, the agents involved, as well as the systems of meaning that underscored the penal process. The analysis is mainly founded upon an extensive source material comprehending all expulsion cases at the upper secondary schools during the period.

The dissertation enriches our understanding of how the system of punishment operated during the twentieth century. The pupil and his or her morals and conduct were at the heart of the system of punishment. It is shown that the hardest punishment, the expulsion, was not only passed for the most severe offences, but also for more banal infractions. Furthermore, the juridical system of the upper secondary schools stretched far beyond the physical milieu of the school yard. Offences committed in the public arena of the town, as well as the private institution of the household, stood grounds for excluding a pupil. Additionally, the relative importance of different types of agents that enacted the system changed over time. Headmasters and teachers were successively accompanied by new agents such as school physicians, the child protection agency as well as modern law enforcement personnel. Finally, the rationality – the historically specific system of meaning underlying the judgment of pupils’ offences – behind the decisions to issue the hardest punishment is examined. Ideas of conduct relating to gender and social class, values concerning truthfulness and deceitfulness, as well as ideas of physical attributes and their connection to intelligence and mental decease, all played parts in the examination of the offending pupils. In the end, the dissertation argues that the system of punishment was something more, and something else, then a mere part of the pedagogical practise of the upper secondary schools. In the system of punishment, internal school traditions converged with partially contradictory tendencies within society at large.