Reading Fiction in the Internet Society. The Function of Literature in the Personal Development and Social Orientation of Young Adults

An important issue aroused by digital media expansion is its possible influence on modes of reading literature, associated with emotional, aesthetic and ethical experiences and cognition. How does today´s young adults understand the meaning of reading literature for personal development and environmental orientation? How can their modes of reading be described? This project, based on empirical studies, is part of the Swedish Research Council’s research theme 2010: “Uses of Fiction”.

Diary number

Finn 014-11

Start date


End date


This project is focused on young adults grown up within the internet society, 16-25-years old, and in the sensitive age when adult identity is being shaped and a new position in the social environment is being established. The aim of this project is to clarify the reception of literary fiction by these readers and how they relate their reactions and experiences of literary fiction to personal development and environmental orientation.

More specific, the project aims to answer following research questions:

  1. What emotions, associations and reflections will emerge in young adults written  reviews on
  2. their reactions on specific, fictional texts,
  3. their general attitude towards literary fiction?
  4. How do young adults in small groups converse about experiences of literary fiction from perspectives of personal development and environmental orientation?
  5.  How do young adults in private conversation describe and estimate their reading of literary fiction from perspectives of personal development and environmental orientation?
  6. How do young adults in these three contexts handle and estimate literary fiction as forms of exposition compared with both factual, e.g. documentary exposition and with other fictional forms of exposition? 
  7. What development across time (1996 – 2010) might be distinguished in the national tests in Swedish language in upper secondary school, where 18-yearold pupils are analyzing literary fiction?


As the results of the project will be published and presented at international conferences, they will replace speculative projections on the meaning of reading literary fiction to the internet-generation with research-based knowledge. The project will also result in development of contacts with international research-groups as well as in Sweden in interdisciplinary networking between literature, library and information science, and educational science. 


Project Manager

  • Professor Torsten Pettersson,Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen,Uppsala universitet.

External head of research

  • FD Maria Wennerström Wohrne,Pedagogiska utvecklingsenheten,Uppsala universitet.


Research Groups

Collaboration Partners