From nation building to global citizenship: human rights education in the Nordic folk high schools




Citizenship education played a crucial role in the 19th century transition from royal sovereignty to democracy in the Nordic region, with folk high schools (FHS) playing an important role. While established to empower the people (folk) for active participation in society, the contemporary folk high schools have reoriented from their initial national focus to emphasise global citizenship education. The paper traces this development and asks how the identity and practice of the FHS reflect the ideals of human rights education. The article outlines the ideology and history of the Nordic folk high schools and builds an analytical framework for two empirical studies of student texts. The final discussion applies the presented material to shed light on the research question and concludes by suggesting that the Nordic folk high schools can be seen as a regional adaption of human rights education.


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Author Biography

Johan Lövgren, University of South-Eastern Norway, Norway

Johan Lövgren is an associate professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway, Norway. His interests are in sociocultural learning theory with a focus on the Nordic folk high schools. In 2018, Lövgren completed his PhD thesis entitled: The reflective community: Learning processes in Norwegian folk high schools. Until 2020, he combined his research career with work as a teacher at a folk high school.


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How to Cite

Lövgren, J. (2022). From nation building to global citizenship: human rights education in the Nordic folk high schools. Human Rights Education Review, 5(2), 77–97.



Research articles

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