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Folkhemmets barnmorskor: Den svenska barnmorkekårens professionalisering under mellan- och efterkrigstid
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.
2000 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Swedish midwives are responsible for delivery care, maternity rare, family planning and a good deal else, which is not the case in many other countries. This thesis analyses the background of this position. The thesis is based on theories of professionalisation, which emphasise the importance of linking the development of a profession to its time and social context. Therefore, the rural background of the midwife profession and the widespread women's organisations of the early 20th century have been analysed, as well as the far- reaching social policy which was a distinctive mark of the Social-Democrat welfare state.

Due to Sweden's late industrialisation, agrarian-style values lived on and formed the foundation of midwives' occupational identity, stressing independence and initiative as desirable qualities. The aims of the women's organisations on the other hand, created a model image of female professionalism and citizenship. Both types of influences were useful to the strategies of the Swedish Midwives' Association.

So were the purposes of the welfare state, carried out with the special idea of the Folkhem (The People's Home, based on equality and comfort) as a guiding principle. Health care was to be nationalised and expanded, and midwives were already organised in a national network when this begun in the 1930s. Similarly, their traditional co-operation with doctors could be turned to strategic advantage when the importance of science for society was put forward in the 1930s and 1940s. The concern about the decline of birth rate, expressed in the so-called population question, evoked strong ideological overtones in the delivery and maternity care.

The emotionally charged debate was a favourable context for the midwives' professionalisation project, and the Midwives' Association adjusted its strategies to the demands of the time. The disappearance of home deliveries was compensated for by new duties, for which midwives prepared themselves through a new training, and they could utilise a role as the representative of ordinary people at the same rime as they offered their services to the new welfare state. Hence the state and the midwives legitimatised each other.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2000. , 339, [5] p.
Studia Historica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0081-6531 ; 196
Keyword [en]
History, Midwifery, doctors, professionalisation, agrarian society, women's organisations, population question, welfare state, Sweden
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-644ISBN: 91-554-5002-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-644DiVA: diva2:167754
Public defence
2001-05-11, Ekonomikum, hörsal 2, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2001-04-20 Created: 2001-04-20Bibliographically approved

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