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Exhibit with emotions
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8173-7474
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Whereas early 19th century international comparisons were mainly found in travelling accounts, the second half of the 19th century offered new ways of comparison through international exhibitions (Dittrich, 2010). The international World’s fairs were among the “few genuinely international cultural institutions” of their time (ibid., 17). 

During the late 20th century Sweden participated with exhibitions at the World’s fairs, roughly, every third year, where industry and art products were put on display, but also products and information from the education system. How come Sweden started to participate at these early international comparisons? What arguments were used, what critical points were raised and what experiences grew out from this? 

Investigating the mediating role that the World’s fairs had on educational ideas and technologies implies a transnational perspective on history. Transnational history is about contacts among communities, polities and societies and their exchanges, interactions, integrations and de-coupling. Having a transnational perspective on history means acknowledging and assessing foreign contributions to design, taste, strategies, politics and future hopes (Saunier, 2013). We also need to acknowledge the emotions involved when it comes to internationalization.

In the case of education, the power of the World’s fair exhibitions has been related to the notion of accountability (Sobe & Boven, 2014) and to aesthetic normativity (Lundahl, 2016). In this paper governing with exhibitions is elaborated as an ‘appeal to emotion’ or argumentum ad passions. Appeals to emotions are about the manipulation of the recipient's emotions in order to win an argument, especially in the absence of factual evidence. This can include appeal to consequences, to fear, to flattery, to pity, to ridicule, to spite, to wishful thinking etc (Nico Frijda, Antony Manstead and Sasha Bem, 2000; Kimball, 2004). 

This paper is about the arguments used in when Sweden started to participate at the World’s fairs. More specifically it is about the parliamentary debates in Sweden where it was decided how much Sweden could afford to pay for participating with own exhibits at ten major World’s fairs (1851 – 1904), and the arguments used. The paper will show that the winning arguments were more often about nationalism than about international gains. Further, if rational ‘cost benefit’ arguments would have won, Sweden would most probably not have participated, rather, emotional arguments – often related to patriotism – tended to nullify every other kind of argument, allowing for participation. 

The paper highlights the importance to take into account appeal to emotions as a way of governing that sometimes actually can be more, or at least as, successful as commonly recognized governing strategies such as ‘governing by numbers’. 

References 

Dittrich, Klaus (2010), Experts Going Transnational: Education at World Exhibitions during the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century. University of Portsmouth.

Kimball, Robert H. “A Plea for Pity.” Philosophy and Rhetoric. Vol. 37, Issue 4. (2004): 301–316. Print.

Lundahl, C. (2016). Swedish Education Exhibitions and Aesthetic Governing at World's Fairs in the Late Nineteenth Century. Nordic Journal of Educational History3, no. 2 (2016): 3–30.

Frijda, Nico H., Antony SR Manstead, and Sacha Bem. "The influence of emotions on beliefs." Emotions and beliefs: How feelings influence thoughts (2000): 1-9.

Saunier, P-Y (2013). Transnational history. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Noah W. Sobe and David T. Boven, ”Nineteenth-century World’s Fairs as accountability systems: Scopic Systems, Audit Practices and Educational Data,” Education Policy Analysis Archives, 22no. 118 (2014)

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-71825OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-71825DiVA, id: diva2:1282379
Conference
International Standing Conference for the History of Education (ISCHE 40), Berlin, Germany, August 29 - September 1, 2018
Available from: 2019-01-24 Created: 2019-01-24 Last updated: 2019-04-02Bibliographically approved

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Lundahl, Christian

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CiteExportLink to record
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