Cathie Jo Martin - May 22, 2024

Education for All? Literature, Culture and Education Development in Britain and Denmark

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Why did Denmark develop mass education for all in 1814, while Britain created a public-school system only in 1870 that primarily educated academic achievers? Cathie Jo Martin argues that fiction writers and their literary narratives inspired education campaigns throughout the nineteenth-century.

Danish writers imagined mass schools as the foundation for a great society and economic growth. Their depictions fortified the mandate to educate all people and showed neglecting low-skill youth would waste societal resources and threaten the social fabric.

Conversely, British authors pictured mass education as harming social stability, lower-class work, and national culture. Their stories of youths who overcame structural injustices with individual determination made it easier to blame students who failed to seize educational opportunities. Novel and compelling, Education for All? uses a multidisciplinary perspective to offer a unique gaze into historical policymaking.


Cathie Jo Martinis Professor of Political Science at Boston University, research associate at the Danish Center for Welfare Studies, University of Southern Denmark, former chair of the Council for European Studies and former director of the BU Center for the Study of Europe. Her books include The Political Construction of Business: Coordination, Growth, and Equality (with Duane Swank, Cambridge University Press 2012), which won an American Political Science Association award. Her current work explores the cultural origins of diverse education systems (using computational analyses of British and Danish literature and archival case studies) and the impacts of these systems on the social inclusion and low-skill youth.

Cathie Jo Martin will present her most recent book “Education for All?” published by Cambridge University Press in 2023


Flavia Fossati is Professor of Inequalities and Integration at the Institut de Hautes Études en Administration Publique (IDHEAP) at the University of Lausanne.


Giuliano Bonoli is Professor of Social Policy at the Institut de Hautes Études en Administration Publique (IDHEAP) at the University of Lausanne.



Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release date: September 2023
Pages:286 pages



17:00  Welcome and presentation, Giuliano Bonoli

17:05 Education for All?, Cathie Jo Martin

17:50 Discussion, Flavia Fossati

18:00 General discussion

18:30 Aperitif

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