The Emergence and Consolidation of a Multidisciplinary Subject: Sustainable Development as a Course of Study in Swedish Higher Education. A Study in the Sociology of Education

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2011
End date: 31/12/2013
Funding: 5610000 SEK


As Swedish higher education has expanded, it has become increasingly complex. As new seats of higher learning have been established and new social groups have entered, the repertoire of courses and programs has expanded dramatically. New programs for professional education have been launched, and specialization has proceeded apace. One of the most profound changes is the proliferation of multi- and transdisciplinary fields of study such as gender studies, educational sciences, and sustainable development. The latter will be in focus for this study. Sustainable development is a truly multidisciplinary field which straddles the natural sciences, technology, environmental studies and the social sciences. The rise of this field of study in higher education thus affords us a rare opportunity to study the boundaries of disciplines, the crossing of these boundaries, and the birth and establishment of a new subject area. Three major studies are planned: The first study focuses on the students in higher education programs in sustainable development and in related areas such as chemistry and biology. The second one examines instructors and scholars in the field, their educational and disciplinary background and their investments in the area. The third study is devoted to course contents: syllabi, reading lists, and exams. The project is firmly based in the tradition of the Sociology of education, but will also involve scholars in Education, Sociology, and the Didactics of mathematics.

External Partners

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:57