When a group of parents wanted to start an independent Muslim school in Jönköping in 1997, a long-lasting political conflict was launched. Although the law allows it, the right to found an independent Muslim school is far from self-evident. Through their demands for a Muslim education, these parents challenge fundamental notions about Sweden and what it means to be Swedish.
Kristina Gustafsson, Division of Ethnology
Status: Completed (1999–2004)
Department: Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences
This study is based on a conflict about an independent Muslim school. The Muslim parents were rejected by their surroundings and not considered to be adequate people with the ability to make independent choices. They were described as economically weak, uneducated, socially segregated and were considered irresponsible. This outlook is based on a long tradition in Swedish welfare policy according to which the State is deemed to be better qualified to judge what is good for a family in terms of upbringing and education. Besides the social aspects, there were also notions of cultural differences. This led to the families being seen as bound by tradition and underdeveloped in relation to the modern Swedish lifestyle.
This way of placing contemporary but different evaluations and behaviours on a time scale from the past, the traditional, to the present, the modern, is captured in the study through the concept of chronopolitics. In order to be considered of equal worth, a person must be and act in accordance with belief in the liberated self. This project relates how different people, based on their own conditions, judge and negotiate individual conflicts of value. This increases awareness of different perspectives on how public life can be organised.
Content manager: Kristina Gustafsson
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Last modified 11 Jan 2012