Based on my study "From tree felling to silver lining: diverse ways of funding elementary schools among Swedish ironworking communities, 1830–1930", I will discuss power and control of schools by funding.
During the heyday of the Swedish iron industry, distinctive communities typically developed near the ore mining, extraction and processing centres. The early entrepreneurs focused their knowledge and capital on production in order to find ways to exploit local opportunities efficiently for the global market. This early modern entrepreneurship, which strove to control every aspect of the process, transformed social relations at the ironworks. A strong patriarchal spirit came to characterize these small societies, and the ironworks’ early interest in school matters was tightly intertwined with the commitment of the companies’ owners. As a head of the mill, the owner was expected not only to maximize its profit, but also to provide for workers and their families’ safety. Consequently, the iron companies often subsidized churches, warehouses, schools and inns in the vicinity of the blacksmiths’ and the other workers’ housing.The iron companies were able to provide financial support not only to one particular school, but also to the parishes’ school activities in general, which, in the cases considered here, involved several school districts.
In order to answer questions about the expressions, extensions and proportions of private contributions to elementary schools, the study is based on information from selected iron companies’ private archives, selected parishes’ archives, and statistics produced by the Ecclesiastical Office. Data published by Statistics Sweden will also be referenced. The guiding intention behind drawing on these sources is to make use of the overlapping information they contain in order to provide a comprehensive overview. During the session, I will point out how the school districts were affected by the iron companies’ support. What monetary contribution, and what types and amounts of non-monetary support, were provided? What proportion of the total elementary school funding was obtained from the private and public sectors respectively? How did these proportions change over time? In addressing such issues from the perspective of Pierre Bourdieu’s extended notion of capital, this paper will be able not only to answer questions about the character, scope and significance of private funding; there will also be an opportunity to say something about the relation between power and the key process of transformation of economic inheritance into cultural capital.
2013. 112- p.