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Nybyggarbarn: Barnuppfostran bland nybyggare i Frostvikens, Vilhelmina och Tärna socknar 1850-1920
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Culture and Media.
1991 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Children of the Settlers : Childrearing among settlers in the parishes of Frostviken, Vilhelmina and Tärna 1850-1920 (English)
Abstract [en]

The investigation concerns childrearing among settlers in the northern part of Sweden between 1850-1920. What were the attitudes of the adults towards children and what ideals were there for children's behaviour? By investigating childrearing I also intended to find which general values and norms there were in the settlers' society. When answering these questions it has turned out that the relationship between discourse, ideal norm and practice is of central importance. The source material has been taken mainly from ethnological archives. The specific elements in the settlers' way of bringing up children will be clear from a comparison with other methods from different times and different social systems. I have found it productive to refer to the discussion regarding various theories on the history of civilisation. The problems of historical translation constitute a central methodological issue in the comparison between different ways of bringing up children. I have tried to dissociate myself from the analysis of childrearing in different times which can be found in the thoughts of Philippe Aries and Norbert Elias. Michel Foucault represents a more unprejudiced history of civilisation and his thoughts about an older and a younger form of steering mechanism have turned out to be applicable in the case of historical change in the discourse and practise of childrearing. The childhood of the settlers' children can be divided into two separate periods; the liberal period of the child's first two or three years, and the time when discipline began. During the first period the child was entitled to have all its needs fulfilled. At the age of four or five a more rigorous discipline began. Flogging and fright were used and the purpose was to make the child obedient, humble and willing to work. Adults could openly express tenderness and kiss and fondle the infants. It is more difficult to interpret the language of tenderness where the older children are concerned, since adults did not express their feelings for them in words or gestures. The way the adults related to the children reveals, however, an attitude which deviates from the ideas of the Old Testament. This attitude, which existed on the level of practise, meant loving playfulness and respect. Discipline was used to teach the children proper behaviour in all areas of life, e.g. the social life with all its strict rules of etiquette. The difficulty in discovering the discipline which existed in the settlers' society, is linked to the fact that their idea of proper behaviour did not always correspond with the ideas of the middle class. The settlers taught their children to control their spontaneous feelings of distaste for dirt and uncleanliness. To openly demonstrate warm feelings for other people was also discouraged. By expressing feelings of shame, the children were taught to discipline their sexuality. Training in humbleness was also a training for life. Children who were in service had to learn the manners and the landless people were outside the reciprocity in the' settlers' society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Etnologi , 1991. , 269 p.
Kungl. Skytteanska samfundets handlingar: Acta Regiae Societatis Skytteanae, ISSN 0560-2416 ; 40Acta Universitatis Umensis, ISSN 0345-0147Umeå studies in the humanities, ISSN 0345-0155 ; 103
Keyword [en]
Education of children, child care, history of childhood, settlers, values, life stories, history of civilisation
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-585ISBN: 91-7174-606-4OAI: diva2:143869
Public defence
Available from: 2005-09-09 Created: 2005-09-09Bibliographically approved

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