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Synen på det nya landet i brev och notiser från svenska migranter i södra Brasilien kring sekelskiftet 1900
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Romance Studies and Classics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4223-6084
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3645-5563
2023 (Swedish)In: Historisk Tidskrift, ISSN 0345-469X, E-ISSN 2002-4827, Vol. 1, p. 3-34Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The number of Swedish citizens who migrated to Brazil between 1881 and1914 reached between 3,000 and 5,000. Most were labourers or peasants, hopingto find a better life in a new country. Although it did not compare to thesheer size of the migration flows to North America, it still received some attentionin the Swedish press. Newspapers often presented Brazil as an exoticdestination, but there were those who doubted whether it was appropriatefor Swedes to emigrate to Brazil.This article draws on Swedish migrants’ letters and diaries, written andpublished either while the writers were living in Brazil or, sometimes, afterthey had returned to Sweden. The narratives constructed an image of Brazilas a contact zone between cultures, and are best understood as a discourseand social practice in which the individual journeys played out. The textsprovide insights into people’s experiences of the kind we focus on in our analysis:daily life and observations about nature, the environment, and livingconditions as well as other peoples.There are not only extensive sources for how Swedish migrants reportedtheir attempts to ensure the success of their migration projects inthe European settler colonies in southern Brazil, but they are also sufficientlybroad and varied to provide a good overview, while the existenceof several series of letters by the same writers makes it possible to followindividual migration projects. The article explores the contradictions between migrants’ stories, the evolution of individual Swedes’ views onlife in Brazil, and how their known ideas about colonisation, nationalism,racism, and power related to the contact zone between Brazilianand Swedish society and history.By analysing the texts from an interdisciplinary perspective, consideringboth the Swedish and Brazilian contexts, we map Swedes’ migration projectsand contribute to the discussion of settler migration and its social andcultural implications. We find the Swedish migrants’ discourse to have beenheavily impacted by processes at a level that individuals rarely influence. Yetat the same time, their writings reflected the pragmatic realities of life as amigrant. We would argue that most Swedish migrants who wanted to defendtheir decision to emigrate (and perhaps never return) chose to present it inthe best possible light, whereas those who wanted to return and become partof the Swedish community again adapted their descriptions accordingly, offeringa negative picture of life in their new country and often of their ownemigration projects.

Abstract [sv]

Mellan 1881 och 1914 beräknas mellan 3 000 och 5 000 svenskar ha migrerat tillBrasilien. Trots att det inte handlade om någon massutvandring i jämförelse medutvandringen till Nordamerika fick denna migration stor uppmärksamhet i densamtida svenska pressen. Brasilien framstod som ett exotiskt resmål men emigrationendit hamnade också i en relativt livlig debatt som handlade om det överhuvudtagetvar lämpligt för svenskar att bosätta sig i Brasilien. Denna studie byggerfrämst på publicerade brev och dagboksanteckningar från svenskar som emigrerattill Brasilien och hur de i dessa texter framställt sina migrationsprojekt i det nyalandet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Svenska Historiska Föreningen, 2023. Vol. 1, p. 3-34
Keywords [en]
Brazil, Swedish migrants, emigration, correspondence, 1880s– 1910s
Keywords [sv]
Brasilien, svenska migranter, emigration, brev, 1880-1910
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Portuguese; Social Anthropology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-214843ISI: 001076238700002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-214843DiVA, id: diva2:1736919
Available from: 2023-02-15 Created: 2023-02-15 Last updated: 2023-11-02Bibliographically approved

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