Understanding Literacy in its Historical Contexts: Socio-Cultural History and the Legacy of Egil Johansson

In this detailed study of the history of universal literacy in Sweden, a group of renowned scholars review and explore the possibilities for the wider circulation and broader application of central dimensions of the early literacy studies, expounding upon the work of the Swedish Lutheran pastor and pioneering social historian Egil Johansson. Working initially with parish registers, especially examination registers from northern Sweden, Johansson discovered the extraordinary usefulness of these documents to determine how literacy in Sweden occurred well before any other European nation, despite the fact that Sweden was industrialized about 100 years later than the European norm. Egil Johansson also developed imaginative data-analysis techniques that help historians around the world to better picture the complete human cast of the past. With the help of numerous contributors Johansson founded a giant database of church records and other information, which now can help the understanding of preindustrial society. Johansson’s work spans over many aspects of literacy and social history and their respective relation to religion and gender.
Graff, Harvey J.