A Reversed Order: Expansion and Differentiation of Social Sciences and Humanities in Sweden 1945–2015

Tobias Dalberg, Uppsala University
Mikael Börjesson, Uppsala University
Donald Broady, Uppsala University

Swedish social sciences and humanities have expanded dramatically since 1945. The augmentation has been especially strong in the 1950s, the 1960s and the 1990s, coinciding with transitions from elite to mass to universal higher education. Despite a recent increase in research on the development of social sciences and humanities since 1945, the diverse consequences of this expansion for different disciplines is often overlooked. In this paper, we argue that the expansion has been very uneven; the social sciences have surpassed the humanities in a number of aspects such as student enrolment, research financing and demand for their expert knowledge. Thus, a long-established order has been reversed. We base our argument on analyses of a diverse material such as individual level register data on students from 1977 onwards, statistical yearbooks and memos for student data before 1977, library catalogues, state calendars and annual reports from the research councils. The bulk of this material is analyzed by comparing the number of students, research students, academic positions and other institutional developments, such as professional organizations, journals and extra-academic institutions within and between disciplines both synchronically and diachronically. Our main conclusion is that the differentiated path the disciplines take is explained largely by their altered position in the field of higher education and changing demands from the labor market as well as the strengthened link between the expansion of the welfare state and the social sciences.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 223. Education, Discrimination, and Social Stratification II