Heder på schemat : En didaktisk studie av hederskultur i svensk ungdomslitteratur

Sammanfattning: This thesis investigates the concept of honour and why this is a relevant concept in the teaching of literature in the school subject of Swedish. In order to investigate this I have analyzed two Young Adult books; Heder (2002) and Fallen flicka (2009) by the author Christina Wahldén. These books show how young women of today are systematically subordinated and how their lives are controlled by male relatives. This culturally specific oppression of young women is constituted by ancient concepts of honour, which in turn are interlinked with women’s sexuality and the male control of it. The oppression has its roots in patriarchal and traditional thinking which is specifically characteristic for an honour culture. Both the male as well as the female characters are modeled by the author in order to make a didactic point. She wants to put the oppressive males on display in order to make us (the readers) aware of the horrific situation that many young women of today suffer from. In order to problematize this I apply postcolonial theory. This theoretical approach allows me to question the way in which the characters are constructed in the books. The standpoint which Christina Wahldén takes in writing her books is disputed, and in this thesis I discuss different viewpoints on this matter. On the one hand there are those intellectuals who agree with the above stated. On the other hand there are others who disagree and instead of a clear-cut cultural pattern, view the concept of honour and how it is used in societal debate with great suspicion. For them the finger pointing only cements prejudices and construct clear-cut difference-markers between Us: the good and modern, and Them: the evil and barbaric. Postcolonial theory lends its support to this latter way of thinking. In this thesis I therefore discuss postcolonial theory at lengths. In this discussion I rely on three theorists’ viewpoints in particular: Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak and Homi Bhabha. My own understanding of postcolonial theory is founded on the central thoughts which these theorists advocate. Besides lending its theoretical viewpoints to my readings of Christina Wahldén’s books, Postcolonial theory also influences my didactic discussions. In these discussions I try to explore why, and in what way, Postcolonial theory is applicable to the school subject of Swedish. My own view is that it can be used as a pedagogic tool to enable critical readings. I find this theoretical approach valuable in order for the school subject of Swedish to become a democratic one which engages the students to practice critical thinking and together read, write and discuss texts dealing with the conflicts that surrounds them in today’s multicultural society. In this thesis I argue strongly for this kind of awareness, an awareness which results in an understanding for the purpose of teaching Literature as a way of dealing with topics of significance for the students as members of a democratic society.

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