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Lidande, stillhet, minne och sorg: Föreställningar och attityder kring döden under spanska sjukan i Östersund och Jämtland
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.
2021 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Suffering, Peacefulness, Memory and Grief : Perceptions and Attitudes regarding Death during the Spanish Flu in Östersund and Jämtland (English)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is to examine perceptions and attitudes regarding death during the Spanish flu epidemic in Jämtland and Östersund (Sweden) 1918. The study asks what attitudes and perceptions were pronounced, how people attempted to make death meaningful, and how this can be understood in a wider historical context of changing attitudes toward death in Sweden and the west at the time. To do this, the study draws primarily upon newspaper articles, obituaries, and diary entries from August–November 1918, and works critically with theoretical and methodological aspects of history of mentalities, backed by cultural history. Historical research regarding death as well as the Spanish flu is extensive, but a more detailed study of the two combined appear so far lacking despite their connection. The study shows how death was made meaningful and understood through a multiplicity of perceptions and attitudes. Previous research has noted how the Spanish flu oftentimes were remembered as personal histories rather than through collective historiography. During the epidemic we see the foundation of this take form. People wish to preserve the memory of their loved ones, and attempt in diverse actions to make their deaths meaningful and understandable. For people in general, both religious and secular ideas toward death become clear. In light of suffering, death appears as an alleviation and a form of stillness, though was neither met with resignation nor apathy. Many instead dedicated themselves to a battle against the disease and its deadly consequences that became part of everyday life. Nurses became heroes going out into battle, and when they succumbed their deaths were described in heroic undertones. Not only do these insights allow us to understand perceptions and attitudes of humans’ historical consciousness, but aids us in our attempt to make death meaningful in times of epidemics and beyond.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021. , p. 45
Keywords [en]
death, Spanish flu, attitudes, perceptions, 20th century, Jämtland, Östersund, memory, epidemic and pandemic diseases
National Category
History of Ideas
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-194199OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-194199DiVA, id: diva2:1566590
Supervisors
Available from: 2021-11-08 Created: 2021-06-15 Last updated: 2021-11-08Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
  • Other style
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  • de-DE
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