Malena janson

Malena Janson


Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Child and Youth Studies
Telephone 08-16 30 71
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 21A
Room 407
Postal address Barn- och ungdomsvetenskapliga institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Senior Lecturer

Head of The Centre for the Studies of Children's Culture



Teaching and supervising children's culture students on basic and advanced level.

Teaching areas: I) Children's film and television, especially the history of Swedish children's film and television, childhood discourses and children's film aesthetics; II) Film education; III) Moving images as normative discourses; IV) Images of the child and child stars in cinema; V) Adaptation studies, intermedia studies and transmediality in the area of children's culture.



My main research interests have included numerous perspectives on moving images for and about children; how children and childhood are depicted in film and television, how these depictions reflect society's childhood discourses, and how they can be analysed on both thematic and stilistic level. In my doctoral thesis Cinema of best intentions? 60 years of Swedish children's film as education and entertainment(2007) I investigated children's perspectives in Swedish children's films from different eras. Another area of interest has been film education, with a focus upon discourses on cinema as artform and/or educational tool. At the moment I'm looking into the area of I) Aestheticising and eroticising of the body of the child within moving images; II) Film and TV adaptations of Swedish children's stories.


Selected publications

Janson, M. (2019). Moulding the democratic citizen of the future: On the discourses and practices of film education in Sweden. Film Education Journal volume 2:1 (2019). In print.

Janson, M. (2006). Through the eyes of a child. I S. Cropper (Red.), 1000 films to change your life. The movies that move us. London: Time out.

Janson, M. (2005). Elvis! Elvis!. I T. Soila (Red.), The Cinema of Scandinavia. London: Wallflower Press.



A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Malena Janson. Barnboken 41

    Kjell Grede’s Hugo and Josephine. An Expression of Children’s Culture of Its Time and a Children’s Film of Tomorrow

    The debut feature film of director Kjell Grede, Hugo and Josephine (1967), is an adaptation of Maria Gripe’s literary trilogy and is often referred to as the best Swedish children’s film ever made. Upon its premiere, the film was very well received by the critics, but some also claimed that it wasn’t suitable for children. This article uses this ambivalence towards Hugo and Josephine as its starting point and demonstrates, via adaptation studies, film studies and childhood studies, how the film transgresses children’s film conventions.

    For example, my analysis of the film form reveals that Hugo and Josephine is a story largely taking place inside the protagonist. Therefore, it should not be seen as a realistic depiction of a series of events, but rather as a formation of a child’s apprehension of the same events. This filmic mode, which I term “a child’s realism”, can be interpreted through the liminal spacetime as well as hyperbolic and phantasmic occurrences. Also, the film thematises childhood as a social construction by presenting different ways of being a child and an adult respectively.

    In this way, Hugo and Josephine transgresses the children’s film conventions of the time and, concurrently, puts into question the boundaries between childhood and adulthood as well as the rigid division between fine arts for children and adults respectively. These social and artistic issues were highly topical towards the end of the 1960’s, and therefore Grede’s film is characteristic for its time. But simultaneously, it forebodes the artistically and thematically seminal Swedish films and TV series for children of the 1970’s.

Show all publications by Malena Janson at Stockholm University

Last updated: January 21, 2020

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