The emergence of Swedish hip-hop during the 1990’s has in many ways accompanied the transformation of Sweden from a mainly homogeneous society, to a diverse and multicultural one. In the early 2000’s hip-hop went from being mostly a youth cultural expression to also becoming the foundation for institutionalized models for social pedagogy in civil society. Since then, Swedish hip-hop has been entangled with the educational tradition of Nordic Bildung (‘folkbildning’ in Swedish). Today however, a new wave of Swedish hip-hop is on the rise, with lyrics and aesthetics that depict (and promote) crime, violence and drug-use in segregated areas. This new wave has actualized educational dilemmas for Swedish hip-hop pedagogy, which previously has been acknowledged for its emancipatory functions. The gangster wave however challenges existing hip hop pedagogy by re-actualizing the seemingly eternal double function and dilemma of folkbildning as being both a free and liberal, and fostering institution.
Johan Söderman is professor in child and youth studies at the University of Gothenburg. He has conducted research concerning hip-hop culture and has published articles, books and chapters in the fields of education, cultural studies and musicology. His research interests include the Scandinavian educational tradition called Folkbildning in Swedish. Söderman is also a board member of the Swedish national Council of Adult Education (Folkbildningsrådet in Swedish)