Linköping Studies in Education and Psychology Dissertations
No. 56

Reading N F S Grundtvig's Pedagogical Writings

Bosse Bergstedt

Akademisk avhandling

som med vederbörligt tillstånd av filosofiska fakulteten vid Linköpings universitet för avläggande av filosofie doktorsexamen kommer att offentligt försvaras i Eklundska salen på Institutionen för pedagogik och psykologi fredag 30 januari 1998, klockan 10.00.


N F S Grundtvig, 1783-1872, was the founder of the folkhögskola, ("Folk High School", Residential colleges of general, liberal education for adolescents and adults), but he also was a pastor, a poet, and a historian. The dissertation presents an overview of Grundtvig's pedagogical thoughts, including his ideas of both the folkhögskola and a Nordic University. The dissertation's main purpose is to clarify the meaning of the concept of livsupplysning (Life enlightenment).

Grundtvig's point of departure is his view that life is embedded in the spoken word of dialogues, songs, folk tales, folk songs and proverbs. What, then, constitutes a Text that Enlightens Life? What are its characteristics? What is its nature? How is it composed? On the basis of deconstructive reading, some of Grundtvig's central pedagogical texts are interpreted. The dissertation demonstrates what characterizes a Text that Enlightens Life, and how Grundtvig uses different rhetoric patterns to express what is meant by Life Enlightenment.

The reading brings forward the two strategies of Reversal and Dislocation. The Reversal clarifies the three fundamental opposites Life and Death, Light and Darkness, Truth and Lie. The Dislocation strategy indicates the need to create maximal växelverkan (interaction, interchange). The outcome is a text built upon ambiguity and pluralism. These are also fundamental in Grundtvig's pedagogy, striving to engender a deep understanding of the meaning of Life Enlightenment.

Key words: N F S Grundtvig, Life enlightenment, Spiritual force, Interaction, Pedagogical text, Deconstructive reading, Rhetoric, Folk High School, University.

Department of Education and Psychology
Linköping University, S-581 83 Linköping, Sweden
Linköping 1998

ISRN LiU-STU--56--SE ISBN 91-7203-281-2