The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

EFL Textbooks - Cultural Gateways?: The Depictions of Outer and Expanding Circle Cultures in Two Swedish EFL Textbooks Aimed at Upper Secondary School and the Correlation of the Depictions With the Steering Documents


  • Sarah Liljeblad

Summary, in English

This study examined how outer and expanding circle cultures were depicted in two English as a foreign language (EFL) textbooks aimed at English 5 in Swedish upper secondary school. Moreover, it was investigated to what extent these depictions aligned with the steering documents by helping students fulfil the aims related to intercultural competence (ICC). In order to develop ICC, students must see various cultural depictions. Therefore, textbooks were investigated because their important educational status results in them relaying cultural depictions to students. Thus, students must seize opportunities to reach the required aims with these depictions. Otherwise, teachers need to combine teaching materials. The textbooks Viewpoints 1 (Gustafsson & Wivast, 2017) and Solid Gold 1 (Hedencrona et al., 2014) were investigated due to their popularity, and their depictions of outer and expanding circle cultures, texts which describes cultural aspects and/or ways of life, were chosen as material. An inductive qualitative content analysis was employed, and the depictions were interpreted with postcolonial theory which demonstrated underlying patterns. Also, various topics, which illustrates the depictions in positive, negative, or neutral contexts, were noted.
This study concluded that Eurocentric norms and inner circle cultures were promoted through the depictions, whereas outer and expanding circle cultures were mostly portrayed negatively. Furthermore, the depictions only partially aligned with the steering documents in helping students develop ICC because no deep cultural aspects were presented. Hence, students may not be able to develop their identities with the assistance of the examined textbooks due to the omittance of cultural diversity and Swedish source culture which they could have contrasted with. Nevertheless, there seemed to be a minor promotion of the acceptance of cultural differences which can partly develop ICC. Consequently, teachers must arguably use varied materials to help students fulfil the required educational aims.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Culture
  • EFL
  • Textbooks
  • Sweden
  • Upper Secondary School


  • Jenny Siméus