Anna Westberg Broström

Background and aim

The scout movement was founded in England 100 years ago. Today, it is established globally and has 38 million members. The Swedish branch of the movement, which is coeducational, is based on voluntary work, membership fees and support from the state. The scout movement organizes the free time for many children, youth and adults in Sweden. It is a milieu and a context where children and youth are being trained (Westberg, 2007; Westberg Broström, 2008). This project aims to study the Scout and Guide movement as a culture which is created for children and youth.

• What does the movement think is best for children and youth?
• How is childhood constructed within the movement?

These questions are of particular interest in a time when the movement tries to modernize itself to suit a wider target group among the population. It can say something about the development of society. The project will run 2009-2011. It is financed by Anna Ahlström and Ellen Terserus foundation.

The project is based on a social constructivist view of knowledge

The Scout and Guide movement is seen as a socially constructed phenomenon that both shapes and is shaped by people. The project is also in itself a construction. The world can be described in a number of ways and from different perspectives. Knowledge can be seen as multifarious and dependent on the context. It is shaped by history and culture (Burr, 2003; Hacking, 2000).


• A study of earlier international research about the construction of children, youth and childhood.

• An ethnographic study of the education of leaders in the Scout and Guide Movement.

Expected results

• This project will contribute to increased understanding of how childhood is constructed in a context which is organized outside the formal education system.

• It will say something about the scout movement’s view of knowledge.

• It will also contribute with knowledge about leadership, informal learning and outdoor education.


Burr, V. (2003). Social constructionism (second edition). London and New York: Routledge.

Hacking, I. (2000). Social konstruktion av vad? [The social construction of what?] Stockholm: Thales.

Westberg, A. (2007). Den upproriska skötsamheten – att vara ung och scout. Doktorsavhandling i barn- och ungdomsvetenskap. [The rebellious aspect of being well-behaved – To be young and a scout] Lärarhögskolan i Stockholm: Institutionen för individ, omvärld och lärande/Stockholms universitet: samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten. (diss).

Westberg Broström, A. (2008). Scouterna – en subkultur för ungdomar? [The scout and guide movement – a subculture?] Locus 3-4/08, p 4-18

På svenska: Konstruktionen av barndom och ungdom - exemplet scouterna