This article explores ways in which textbook content can reflect national identity over time via a case study of Swedish textbooks. To this end, it analyzes and contextualizes descriptions of Finnish labor migrants in Sweden in seventy-four compulsory school textbooks. The Finnish labor group emigrated from Finland to Sweden mainly from the 1950s to the 1980s. Initially, the Swedish authorities saw them as temporary laborers, but as time went by, the authorities had to realize that they had become permanent residents. In 2000, Finns were defined as an official national minority, “Sweden-Finns,” and their status changed. This article examines representations of Finnish labor migrants in Swedish history, geography and social science textbooks published between 1954 and 2016, tracing their journey from temporary laborers to a permanent national minority.
Lina Spjut is an associate professor in the Department of Pedagogy at Umeå University, Sweden. Email: Lina.email@example.com.