Syllabus for Histories of Modern Societies: Contextualising Education, c. 1800-2000

Moderna samhällens historia - kontextualisering av utbildning ca 1800-2000

A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 4PE116
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Sociology of Education A1N

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2015-03-11
  • Established by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: Autumn 2015
  • Entry requirements:

    A Bachelor's degree corresponding to at least 180 credits, including at least 90 credits from a discipline pertaining to the social sciences or the humanities.

  • Responsible department: Department of Education

Decisions and guidelines

The course is part of the Master's Programme in Sociology of Education and the Master's Programme in Educational Sciences with a Specialisation in Sociology of Education. It can also be given as an independent course.

Learning outcomes

After completion of the course the student will be able to:

  • give an overview of and summarise some of the fundamental political, economic, cultural and social changes during the modern period (ca. 1800-2000)
  • discuss and compare different theoretical perspectives on history on the societal changes in the modern period used in sociological and historical research on education
  • identify a contextualised research question that contributes to an increase of our understanding of the function of education in various modern societies, and present this problem and its historical and theoretical context in a concise and comprehensible way.


In this course, students will learn how to contextualise their research questions and discuss and analyse educational institutions from a theoretical and historical perspective. The aim of the course is to introduce students to the historical problems, processes and theoretical concepts connected to the modern historical era during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The course focuses especially on the rise and development of modern social formations, the modern state and institutions, the concepts of power and social class.


The course consists of a number of lectures and seminars focusing on specific themes and questions. Seminar discussions will be based on a mandatory literature list. To achieve the learning outcomes, students are expected to actively participate in seminar discussions with prepared contributions regarding literature and with constructive comments to ongoing discussions.


Assessment will be based upon shorter seminar assignments and a final paper in which the student contextualises his or her research question. The student has to defend the final paper in class.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2015

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Bourdieu, Pierre What makes a social class?

    Part of:

    Berkeley journal of sociology

    vol. 32 (1987) s. 1-17

    Find in the library


  • Scott, Joan W. Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis

    Part of:

    The American historical review

    vol. 91 (1986) nr. 5 s. 1053-1075

    Find in the library

  • Dean, Mitchell Governmentality : power and rule in modern society

    2. ed.: Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010

    Chapter 1-2, 53 p.

    Find in the library


  • Esping-Andersen, Gøsta The three worlds of welfare capitalism

    Cambridge: Polity, 1990

    Find in the library


  • Foucault, Michel Discipline and punish : the birth of the prison

    New York: Vintage Books, 1979

    Find in the library


  • Harvey, David The condition of postmodernity : an enquiry into the origins of cultural change

    Oxford: Blackwell, 1990

    Chapter 1-11, 186 p.

    Find in the library


  • Scott, James C. Seeing like a state: how certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed

    New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, cop. 1998

    Chapter 1-5, 147 p.

    Find in the library


  • Polanyi, Karl The great transformation : the political and economic origins of our time

    2nd Beacon Paperback ed.: Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2001

    Chapter 3-21, 220 p.

    Find in the library


  • Sewell, William Hamilton Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation (Chicago studies in practices of meaning)

    University of Chicago Press, 2005

    Chapter 1-6, 175 p.

    Find in the library


  • Thompson, Edward Palmer The making of the English working class

    [New edition]: London: Penguin Books, 2013

    Chapter 16, 100 p.

    Find in the library