Multiculturalism and literature in the English classroom. A Swedish perspective
The Swedish curriculum of English states that one of the main goals in the subject is ‘the ability to discuss and reflect on living conditions, social issues and cultural features in different contexts and parts of the world where English is used’ (Skolverket, 2011, p 2). However, how this goal can or should be achieved is unclear, and this paper investigates whether multicultural literature could be useful. The investigation is divided into four sections where different aspects of multicultural literature are discussed: what culture in the English subject means, which qualities literature has in the context, what makes multicultural literature different and last but not least examples of how multicultural literature could be used practically in the English classroom. The obvious advantage of multicultural literature is that ‘silenced’ groups get represented. However, it takes much skill to achieve ultimate positive effects, and it is debated whether this literature could even be counterproductive. My main conclusion is that the Swedish school, due to global challenges and migration, needs more multicultural course content, among other things multicultural literature. Nevertheless, it would be even better if the genre was normalized, and general literature would get representative instead.