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Genom symaskinens nålsöga: Teknik och social förändring i kvinnokultur och manskultur
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
1990 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Through the Eye of the Sewing Machine Needle : Technology and social change in female culture and male culture (English)
Abstract [en]

Second to firearms, the sewing machine is the first mechanical device to be manufactured on a large scale in factories. It is also the first industrial-technological appliance to be brought into the homes of all classes. The sewing machine has played an important role in industrial development and thereby in society. In women's lives it has been essential, economically as well as practically. The sewing machine is a technical device, constructed and produced by men in a male-dominated industry, and a means of labor, primarily used by women.

With the sewing machine as the starting point and the focus, this work looks at the relation between technology and social change in male dominated and female dominated working areas: the sewing machine factory and the work in the home. The sewing machines specifically studied are those manufactured at the Swedish Husqvarna factory, which started its production of sewing machines in 1872.

The sewing machine is looked at from different angles. As an example of the transition from hand work to mechanical work. As a technical device and an industrial product in men's world. As a tool for survival and vanity in women's world. As the product that transformed the little poor village of Huskvama into a prosperous industrial town. As the consumer good which introduced the hire-and-purchase system as well as the system ofselling by agents in the homes. Finally, all the different aspects are looked at during the period 1945-1955, when fundamental changes took place in men's working lives in the industry as well as in women's working lives in the homes.

Crucial for the dissertation is the concept of culture. Culture is used in the meaning of the common world of experience shared by a group of people and which in turn forms their ethics, values and ways of relating to the surrounding world. Thus "male culture" is defined as the ruling culture in a male-dominated working area (i.e. the sewing machine industry and business) and "female culture" as the ruling culture in a women-dominated working area (i.e. unpaid and paid sewing in the home). The concept "technological culture" is used in a similar way - the dominating mentality in a society based on technology.

The aim of the work is to show how technological change - symbolized by the sewing machine- has different effects according to the context. In both men's world and women's world, the sewing machine affected the work. Both the male culture and the female culture had to adapt to the technological culture. But the relation between male culture and female culture remained unchanged. Inspite of the change from an agrarian to an industrial society, from an organic to a mechanical world view.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Carlssons , 1990. , 295 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 50
Keyword [en]
Female Culture, Male Culture, Technological Culture, Sewing Machine, Huskvarna, Husqvarna, Husmodern, Insyn
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-35303Local ID: 26249ISBN: 91-7798-321-1OAI: diva2:256151
Public defence
1990-07-01, Wallenbergssalen, Östergötlands Länsmuseum, Linköping, 00:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2012-06-01Bibliographically approved

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