ELHN Conference 2017 – CFP “Knowledge is power. Workers’ Education for Emancipation”

With few exceptions all labor movements in the world have arranged some kind of workers’ education. The structure and purpose of these educations have differed between countries and a range of different study activities have been practiced such as labor colleges, peoples’ high schools, study circles, lectures, and correspondence courses, to mention a few. The educational settings also served several purposes; in the Nordic countries, workers’ education pronounced the enlightenment of the working class. In these countries, raising the cultural awareness of workers became the main goal. In countries where the university extension movement was strong, like in the UK, workers’ education was a way for the labor movement to compensate for the low formal education among

the workers. It became a bridge to formal higher education and, thus, enabled upward class mobility. Last but not least, workers’ education has constituted the institutions in which the political schooling of the working class took place. Education arranged by the labor movement aimed to ensure that all members had sufficient skills to run the organizations and to represent labor parties in parliamentarian institutions as well as being well-versed in ideology.

In this session we aim to analyze workers’ education in different countries and from different perspectives. We welcome contributions from various disciplines, case studies as well as comparative studies. We encourage papers that focus on how different labor movement organizations arranged workers’ education (such as educational practices, teaching methods etc.), the implications of workers’ education, either for the individual worker or for trade unions or political parties (such as social mobility or class formation), the scope of workers education in different countries, or analyses of what was taught in these educational settings.

If you are interested, send an abstract (no longer than 350 words) to Jenny Jansson (jenny.jansson@statsvet.uu.se) and Jonas Söderqvist (jonas.soderqvist@ekhist.uu.se), Uppsala university.

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