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  • Att väva samman allting: Om kontextens kontext

    Elisabeth Mansén

    Chapter from the book: Bergwik, S et al. 2022. Konsten att kontextualisera: Om historisk förståelse och meningsskapande.

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    Weaving everything together: On the context of context

    This chapter provides an historical perspective on context and contextualisation, and studies how they were introduced as controversial terms at Swedish universities. In addition, alternative expressions and criticisms of the concepts are discussed. The chapter explores how these words are handled in dictionaries and encyclopaedias, where they are used in scientific settings and how this changes over time. This is supplemented with a study of an individual discipline, the history of ideas. The article can also be read as an example of itself, a way to contextualize the word context. Etymologically, context means weaving together. It usually refers to relations within a text, but a wider reference to ideas and events sometimes occur. The most extensive definition is found in Swedish Wiktionary, where context simply means what something is connected to. The study shows that the word context is used for at least two purposes: to expand your understanding or to limit your perspectives. The word is present in Swedish from 1671 and found in Swedish dictionaries from 1852. In the most prestigious publication (SAOL) it is included in 1900 and continuously from 1950. In Swedish dissertation titles the word context appears in 1975 but is afterwards absent until the end of the 1980s. Context is used more often from 1990 and seems most popular in social science dissertations from the first decade of the twenty-first century. An Internet study suggests an increased interest in contextualisation. Altogether, the activity of weaving everything together creates an attractive image of academic activities.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Mansén, E. 2022. Att väva samman allting: Om kontextens kontext. In: Bergwik, S et al (eds.), Konsten att kontextualisera. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/bbt.l

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on April 12, 2022


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