Alla tycker om färg : Representationer av etnicitet i sex utvalda bilderböcker för barn samt förhandling och praktiska konsekvenser inom folkbiblioteken

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för ABM


This essay aims to focus on the historical representation of black people in Swedish picture books for children, and to connect these books to the debates taking place among librarians. During the past years there has been an ongoing debate concerning the representation of colored human beings in children´s literature. One of the most debated books, in media and among libraries, has been the books about Little Heart (Swedish title: Lilla Hjärtat). The debate discussed if the character in the book is a mockery of black people or contributes to a multicultural literature for children. But there are still many books out there on the shelfs in the libraries, they are hardly mentioned. When a debate takes place in media, the libraries have to follow in order to keep the library updated and also to follow the intention of being an open space for everyone. However, this aim is a delicate issue in between censorship and freedom of speech.

In order to grasp aspects and influence of time it is valuable to see the historical aspects on how individuals has been portrayed in picture books and connect these aspects to the debates. To do so, six books has been chosen for a picture analysis and text analysis, from the 1940´s till 2000´s. The books have been deliberated chosen to show representation of colored people. The importance of establish the ongoing debate today in historical events is emphasized by the sociologist Michael Pickering who´s work focus om stereotypes and the representation of such. The theoretical framework also has influences from critical race- and whiteness studies such as Sarah Ahmed, Tobias Hübinette and Ylva Habel. Often, intentional or not, the colored individuals in picture books often become The other, in this sense and particular context, the minority in a white world. Stereotypes and the inferior position of colored people in Sweden is difficult to talk about, it is uncomfortable to talk about race although race and ethnicity is a factor which affects people´s daily life. The colonial and race history of Sweden must be brought up to evaluate our society, where libraries and books are fields that needs to be addressed.

The question of representation of people, I hope, will be as living as the discussion and projects that has been taking place in Sweden concerning gender issues.

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