Photo of Katarina Eriksson Barajas

Katarina Eriksson Barajas


My research interest is interdisciplinary, involving both literary and social science theory. My previous and ongoing projects concern culture reception as seen through how artistic expressions are discussed and treated in everyday practices.

Fiction as a didactic tool

I have a strong interest in narratives that take the form of fiction, drama, film and other visual and creative media. Because school is the primary cultural institution for children and young adults in Sweden, I have done my research in educational contexts. I primarily explore the ways that fiction is used as a didactic tool in education. Books, film and theatre are used both for developing literary and linguistic competence and for dealing with social issues and fundamental values.

The discursive analytical approach I have used allows for the study of educational practice relating to fiction at a micro level, letting pupils and teachers be heard in this research. I call this approach discursive reception studies. Detailed analyses of fictive narratives open the way for studies of the connections between fiction and real life. Since earlier research in the field of reception and reader response has been based, to a great extent, on questionnaires and interviews, I search for contexts in which people read, watch films, and go to the theatre in the course of everyday life, in order to contribute to an understanding of the ways fiction is used in “ordinary” settings—and to what ends. Further, even outside educational settings, moviegoers often refer to uses of fiction as a tool for learning, indicating the didactic potential of these creations in non/educational contexts. 

My research is interdisciplinary, involving both literary and social science theory. In a broad sense, my previous and ongoing projects concern cultural reception examined in terms of the ways that artistic expressions (e.g., works of literature, films) are discussed and treated in the course of people’s everyday lives. 

I’m very much involved in issues concerning the work of PhD students. In addition to teaching in the Teacher-Training Programme and conducting PhD courses in education, I also teach research supervision. 


Earlier research

From instruction to reflection - teachers' and pupils' use of school film and school movie

The focus of this project is on how teachers created engagement through school cinema: students in grades 7-9 as well as upper secondary grades 1-3 discussed serious social and emotional problems in groups, among the entire class, as researchers and by producing and writing film manuscripts. In discussions about the film Evil (Swe Ondskan), students constructed a just character and an evil bully, who were both viewed as products of their circumstances rather than as responsible for their actions. The project’s studies also show how the use of fiction as an instructional tool can conceptually liberate the students from actual bullying situations in the discussions. When a group of students discussed the film Lilya 4-ever their discussion revealed existing discourses on prostitution, at the same time that it showed how students exhibit resistance to indoctrination by the adult world. 


Lindgren, A. , Sparrman, A., & Eriksson Barajas, K. (2012). From Instruction to Reflection: Film in education in Sweden. I C.K. Cheung (Red.) Research in Media Education (pp. 151-174), New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Eriksson Barajas, K. (2010). The pimp and the happy whore. ‘Doing Gender’ in Film Talk in a School Setting. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 54(6), 581–596.

Eriksson Barajas, K., & Lindgren, A. (2009). Den ’rättfärdige’ mobbaren. Elevers föreställningar om mobbning i skolbioaktiviteter. Utbildning & Demokrati, 18(3), 111-130.

Lindgren, A., Sparrman, A., & Eriksson, K. (2005). Film i klassrummet reser välfärdsfrågor. LOCUS, (3–4), 14–25.

Sparrman, A., & Eriksson, K. (2004). Skolbio studerad genom kameralinsen. Erfarenheter från ett forskningsfält. Didaktisk tidskrift, 14(2–3), 79-89.

Eriksson, K. (2003). Hur används film i skolan? Nytt forskningsprojekt ska ge svar på frågan. Svenskläraren, (2), 17–18.

Culture Reception and Socialization - booktalk in school

This project examines fiction book clubs in grades 4-7. The aim of the book clubs was to get as many students as possible to be so-called “bookworms”. The project describes the didactic dilemmas that arise in attempts to have a deeper discussion about the books. The students related what they had read to whether it felt or seemed “real”, or by citing facts or telling of their own experiences. Another part of the project shows how gender was constructed in the book discussions: the literary figures were discussed in both stereotypical and non-stereotypical ways. The project also addresses how otherness is created in the discussions by highlighting differences and building a number of implicit and explicit contrasts between “them” and “us”. Finally, the project shows how the identities the avid readers as well as the struggling readers were created in the discussions, and that the students were positioned along two continuums: willing or unwilling reader, as well as fast or slow reader. An important finding was that being a fast reader did not always coincide with being a lover of books.


Eriksson Barajas, K. (2012). Boksamtalets dilemman och möjligheter. Stockholm: Liber.

Eriksson Barajas, K., & Aronsson, K. (2009). Avid versus struggling readers: co-construed pupil identities in school booktalkLanguage & Literature, 18(3), 281–299.

Eriksson Barajas, K. (2009). Diskursiv receptionsforskning – en väg till kunskap om berättelsen i vardagen. I A. Sparrman, J. Cromdal, A. Evaldsson & V. Adelsvärd (Red.), Den väsentliga vardagen: Några diskursanalytiska perspektiv på tal, text och bild (pp. 131-147). Stockholm: Carlssons.

Eriksson Barajas, K. (2008). Beyond Stereotypes? Talking about gender in school booktalk. Ethnography and Education, 3(2), 129–144.

Eriksson, K., & Aronsson, K. (2005). ‘We’re really lucky’: co-creating ‘us’ and ‘the Other’ in school booktalk. Discourse & Society, 16(5), 719–738.

Eriksson, K., & Aronsson, K. (2004). Building Life-World Connections during School Booktalk. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 48(5), 511–528.

Eriksson, K. (2002). Booktalk Dilemmas. Teachers’ organisation of pupils’ reading. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 46(4), 391–408.

Eriksson, Katarina (2002b) Life and fiction. On intertextuality in pupils’ booktalk (Diss.). (Linköping studies in arts and science, no. 251). Linköping: Linköpings universitet


It's not her, it's hen

A cartoon image of a woman holding a comic book in her hand. Photo credit Man_Half-tube Lars Wallner, Katarina Eriksson Barajas (2022) 'It's not her, it's hen': situated classroom use of the Swedish gender-neutral pronoun hen Classroom Discourse

Closer to and further away

A woman with headphones and computer sitting in a Zoom meeting. Photo credit Drazen_ Emilia Åkesson, Edyta Just, Katarina Eriksson (Barajas) (2022) Closer to and further away - emergency-remote teacher education, orientations and student-bodies Högre Utbildning, Vol. 12, p. 66-78. 

Latest publications


Lars Wallner, Anja Rydén Gramner, Malin Wieslander, Henrik Lindqvist, Åsa Larsson, Emilia Åkesson, Katarina Eriksson Barajas (2024) Students' Constructions of Professional Judgement in Teacher Education, Medical Education and Police Education Högre Utbildning, Vol. 14, p. 49-63 Continue to DOI


Katarina Eriksson Barajas (2022) Maurice Sendak Jubileumsskrift, p. 13-15-
Lars Wallner, Katarina Eriksson Barajas (2022) 'It's not her, it's hen': situated classroom use of the Swedish gender-neutral pronoun hen Classroom Discourse Continue to DOI
Emilia Åkesson, Edyta Just, Katarina Eriksson (Barajas) (2022) Closer to and further away - emergency-remote teacher education, orientations and student-bodies Högre Utbildning, Vol. 12, p. 66-78 Continue to DOI
Katarina Eriksson (Barajas) (2022) Maurice Sendak Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award: 2002-2022, p. 12-15

Teaching, networks and social media

More about me


2018-2020 Deputy Dean of Educational Research and Doctoral Education

2014 Professor of Education, Linköping University 

2011 Reader in Pedagogic Practices, Linköping University 

2002 PhD of Child Studies, Linköping University

Member of the jury

ALMA, Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Member of the jury for Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) 

Supervision of PhD student