Educational history in the age of apology The Church of Sweden’s “White book” on historical relations to the Sami, the significance of education and scientific complexities in reconciling the past

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Björn Norlin
David Sjögren


Reconciliation processes – wherein governments and other organizations examine their past institutional practices to understand contemporary problems in relation to minorities or indigenous groups – have become a widespread international phenomenon in recent decades. In Sweden, such an ongoing process is the reconciliation work between the Church of Sweden and the Sami. In this process, which recently resulted in the publication of a scholarly anthology (or a “white book”), educational history has come to play a vital part. The present article uses the Church of Sweden’s White Book as an empirical object of study to examine in more detail the role and significance of knowledge of educational history for this specific reconciliation process. By focusing on various scientific complexities and epistemological tensions that tend to arise in these kinds of undertakings, this paper also aims to problematize the white book genre itself as a path to historical knowledge. By doing this, this article’s overall ambition is to contribute to future scholarly work in reconciliation activities, white papers and truth commissions. This study applies a qualitative content analysis and connects theoretically to the growing field of transitional justice research.

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How to Cite
Norlin, B., & Sjögren, D. (2019). Educational history in the age of apology. Educare - Vetenskapliga Skrifter, 2019(1), 69 - 95.