When Sweden Harboured Idlers: Gender and Luxury in Public Debates, c. 1760–1830
2013 (English)In: Sweden in the Eighteenth-Century World: Provincial Cosmopolitans / [ed] Göran Rydén, Farnham: Ashgate, 2013, 249-274 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Manners were crucial for social life in the old regimes of early modern Europe. People from the different estates were supposed to act, dress, speak and feel in accordance with their standing in society. These performed differences – described and regulated in laws and religious tracts as well as in advice manuals – made it possible for people to understand their social worlds and act in a proper way. Changes in the eighteenth century challenged this order. Enlightenment ideas questioned the political, cultural and social fundaments of the old regimes. Global contacts and increased trade brought new products and possibilities to local markets. New patterns of consumption were possible due to rising living standards in some groups and spread through novel ideas about fashionable lifestyles. In this process, traditional manners were challenged and criticised as well as defended and glorified; it became harder to decode people’s social standing and estate by their performance. Gender was integrated in the social and cultural order of the old regime as well as in the developing new order, and many struggles between old and new values were fought in gendered terms.The following chapter concerns the ways politics and economics were intertwined with gendered norms on manners in Sweden from the end of the eighteenth century and a few decades into the new century. A growing involvement in global trade combined with an intensified social transformation created a large body of comments and discussions in the Swedish public debate. The commentators addressed both lawmakers and men and women of the people when they urged for changes in laws as well as for a reformation of manners. The cosmopolitan nature of these debates, with both commodities and ideas flowing across Swedish borders, influenced the course of development.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Farnham: Ashgate, 2013. 249-274 p.
gender luxury public debate 18th century
Research subject History; Economic History
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-206836ISBN: 9781409465881OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-206836DiVA: diva2:645629