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Servants and Bourgeois Life in Urban Sweden in the Early Twentieth Century
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
2010 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of History, ISSN 0346-8755, Vol. 35, no 4, 427-450 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

By 1900, most Swedish servants had a rural background. They had migrated to the city from the countryside to perform domestic service in private households. Here they met bourgeois ideals of the comfortable home where the masters could demand home-cooked meals, clean clothes and pleasant surroundings. Servants were needed in order to fulfil this ideal. Yet, the number of domestic servants declined strongly in urban Sweden during the first half of the Twentieth Century. This development is often called ‘the servant crisis’. We explore the background to the scarcity of servants, the relationships between masters and servants, and the role of servants in creating economic and cultural distinctions. We analyze the various adaptations of bourgeois households to the decline of domestic servants. Qualitative sources from private letters, diaries and autobiographies are combined with quantitative evidence from censuses.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oslo: Routledge , 2010. Vol. 35, no 4, 427-450 p.
Keyword [en]
Domestic service, Servants, Bourgeois, Labour market, 20th Century Sweden
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-42575DOI: 10.1080/03468755.2010.520241OAI: diva2:349834
Den svenska borgerligheten, 1900-1970
Available from: 2010-09-08 Created: 2010-09-08 Last updated: 2010-12-22Bibliographically approved

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Edvinsson, Therese NordlundSöderberg, Johan
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