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De vanartade barnen: Mötet mellan barn, föräldrar och Norrköpings barnavårdsnämnd 1903 - 1925
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
1994 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Delinquent Children : Conflicts and Cooperation between Children, Parents and the Children's Welfare Board in Norrköping 1903-1925 (English)
Abstract [en]

The study deals with the children, parents and authorities ofNorrktsping at the beginning of the twentieth century, and with the social and cultural consequences of a new law concerning child welfare. It focuses on the effects of the new legislation on the children and their families. The study deals both with the social conditions of the families and how ideas about "good childhood" were put into practice. The social background of the members of the Children's Welfare board is contrasted with that of the families coming to the board's attention. Of particular interest is the specific form of culture that was created by the children themselves on the streets and in the market squares, and how this culture was experienced and described by adults and authorities.

The object of the study is to analyze the Children's Welfare Board of Norrköping and the families whose children were reported as delinquent or morally neglected. In order to understand "moral neglect" and "delinquency" the meaning and usage of the terms have been analyzed.

Previous research deals primarily with the organization of the children's welfare board from acontrol perspective. But the study of legislation and the exertion of duty by the authorities has its drawbacks. The results do not provide any insight into how the actions of the authorities were experienced by the families. Nor and in that case how the actions of the families influenced the actions ofthe authorities. The present study attempts to view the decisions and measures of the board from adifferent perspective. The emphasis is rather on the interplay and strategies of the involved actors, and particularly on their importance for the specific actions taken against the children.

The children formed a specific culture where petty thefts, visits to the circus and cinema etc were important elements. This children's culture was in opposition to the predominant imagery of a"good" childhood. The children did not allow themselves to be controlled. Instead, they insisted on their right to certain pleasures, like sweets, cinema, theatres and the circus. They read "improper" books, hung out at amusement parks, went to restaurants - pleasures they did not ask permission for, and which were made possible by petty thefts and visits to the pawnshop. Boys smoked and drank liquor when they could find it, while girls got hold of clothes and jewellery. This was a rebellious kind of childhood culture which was very difficult to control, and, since it contained many elements that belonged to the adult world, it was seen as particularly harmful and outrageous.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Hjelms , 1994. , 284 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 112
Keyword [en]
History of Childhood, Family Strategies, History from Below, Children's Culture, Child Saving, Children's Welfare Board, Juvenile Delinquency, Social Welfare, Resistance, Social Control
Keyword [sv]
barn, barndom, tvångsomhändertagande, socialhistoria
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-24667Local ID: 6898ISBN: 91-87922541OAI: diva2:244989
Public defence
1994-11-25, Wallenbergssalen, Östergötlands Länsmuseum, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2012-06-05Bibliographically approved

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Sundkvist, Maria
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