Att göra en demokrat? : Demokratisk socialisation i den svenska gymnasieskolan

Sammanfattning: This study focuses upon the extent that teaching about democracy affects pupil comprehension and opinions about democracy. Its point of departure is the question, “to what extent is school an agent of democratic socialization?” The overall aim of this study is to contribute to understanding the democratic socialization process and especially to understand the role that school can play in that process.   The study is comprised of a survey about democratic values, democratic institutions and democratic authorities completed by 318 upper secondary pupils upon two occasions. The first was just prior to the start of the course, “Samhällskunskap A” and the second was at the end of that course. The survey also included a number of background questions related to each individual participant; 28 pupils in one of the schools who had not yet studied “Samhällskunskap A” were used as a control group. Twelve teachers involved in actual teaching at that time were interviewed regarding their attitudes toward the official documents about democratic socialization and whether or not they saw the goals as articulated in those documents as possible to achieve.   Based upon theories about democratic socialization and socialization agents, a number of conditions and problems were formulated and operationalized in order to analyse the outcome of the study. Three main concepts were used as analytical tools: democratic orientations, democratic socialization and socialization agent.   The results do not support the assumption that school can be seen as a general democratic socialization agent through teaching about politics and democracy. But certain situations and aspects of democratic orientations demonstrate that the school has a tendency to affect socialization; therefore school is seen as a specific democratic socialization agent. The main conclusion of this study is that teaching about politics and democracy is expected to have limited influence on pupils in upper secondary school. Also important is the finding that the pupil’s average change on the aggregate level is low, but on individual level, many pupils made significant changes regarding their democratic orientations during the course. The results support a view that the process of democratic socialization is a complex process and is difficult to predict.