Computing the Nordic Way: The Swedish Labour Movement, Computers and Educational Imaginaries from the Post-War Period to the Turn of the Millennium


  • Lina Rahm KTH Royal Institute of Technology



educational imaginaries , popular education, history, labour movement history, computer history, workers' education history


Based on empirical material from Swedish reformist labour movement associations, this article illustrates how digital technology has been described as a problem (and sometimes a solution) at different points in time. Most significant, for this article, is the role that non-formal adult education has played in solving these problems. Computer education has repeatedly been described as a measure not only to increase technical knowledge, but also to construe desirable (digital) citizens for the future. Problematisations of the digital have changed over time, and these discursive reconceptualisations can be described as existing on a spectrum between techno-utopian visions, where adaptation of the human is seen as a task for education, and techno-dystopian forecasts, where education is needed to mobilise democratic control over threatening machines. As such, the goal for education has been one of political control—either to adapt people to machines, or to adapt machines to people.

Author Biography

Lina Rahm, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Postdoctoral Fellow at KTH Royal Institute of Technology