Images of Technology and Sustainable Development in Swedish Children’s Literature

Cecilia Axell, Jonas Hallström, Jan-Erik Hagberg


The aim of this article is to investigate images of technology and how technology is linked to sustainable development in Swedish children’s literature. Our perspective is that such images represent values that are conveyed to the young generation. We have chosen to study books by four Swedish authors, Elsa Beskow, Inger Sandberg, Jan Lööf and Sven Nordqvist, all of them still read by many children, parents and teachers, both in and out of school. In the examined books, technology is portrayed in several modes: as a servant to man, as a deterministic force, as a loyal and equal companion to man, and as a natural phenomenon in a nostalgic world. Technologies that have a leading role in the stories examined are placed in different kind of contexts, more or less social, more or less utopian or idyllic. In all four authors’ writings there is an optimistic faith in children’s ability. 

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