Nordic Journal of Educational History (Dec 2022)

Educationalising Death: The Emergence of Traffic Education in Swedish Elementary Schools

  • Joakim Landahl

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 2


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When a social problem is educationalised, i.e. formulated as a responsibility for educational institutions, knowledge becomes a solution for societal ills. This article examines the history of traffic education in Swedish elementary schools as a particular form of knowledge. Focusing on the three first decades of traffic education, the ambition is to delve deeper into the issue of what constituted traffic knowledge during a period of mass motorisation. In teaching about traffic, what were the main things that had to be conveyed? What were the main challenges in teaching the essentials of traffic, and what techniques were used to make traffic possible to understand for an audience of children? Drawing on handbooks for teachers and textbooks in traffic education, the article discusses five forms of knowledge that were used in traffic education: knowledge about risk, juridical knowledge, visual knowledge, moral knowledge, and practical knowledge.