Arrival to a fictional total institution

The Swedish folk high school as a liminal space in literature




arrival story, folk high school, liminality, sociology through literature, total institution


Arrivals have an unexplored significance as a phenomenon in sociology. This article studies depictions of arrivals to art education courses at Swedish folk high schools in fiction. These arrivals are liminal transitions between two states, warranting personal change, either being the solution to a previous problem or creating a problem (to be solved). Many spaces in society have lost their status as total institutions physically and symbolically detached from the rest of society. The rarity of and desire for totalizing milieus create possibilities for self-exploration and self-development in characters, enabling authenticity and revealing truths of social life. The depiction of the folk high school as a total institution of isolation and a liminal space for change is effective in (re-)producing cultural images of the folk high school and as a literary device to contain characters and develop conflicts that arise from the milieu. At the same time, these arrival stories demonstrate the importance of liminality in arrival and suggest that arrival be studied as a general phenomenon to uncover hidden facets of institutionalized social life.


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Referera så här

Fürst, Henrik. 2022. ”Arrival to a Fictional Total Institution: The Swedish Folk High School As a Liminal Space in Literature”. Sociologisk Forskning 59 (3):321–340.