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Abstract

The aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, to analyse how a particular reading activity in a post-war Swedish comprehensive school, was part of the larger social and political project of the welfare state, and tied to the notion of good citizenship. Thereby, and secondly, the paper aims to illustrate how dialogical document theory enables the study of reading, and possibly other types of document work and practices. The analysis of a speech by a teacher about what can be learnt from a short story during a Swedish lesson in a primary school in 1968 illustrates how document work such as reading activities are value-laden, and tied into ideologies and political projects. In this specific case, reading is in dialogue with the political project of realising the democratic and egalitarian “People’s home” which, somewhat paradoxically, required the disciplining of its young citizens. It is concluded that a dialogical document theory, which focuses on document work as it unfolds in localised activities and at the same time on situation-transcending documentary practices, can be useful for studies within Library and Information Science on reading in both utilitarian and pleasure oriented empirical contexts.

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