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Arbetarfamiljen och det nya hemmet: Om bostadshygienism och klasskultur i mellankrigstidens Göteborg
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
1993 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Working-Class Family and The New Home : On hygienism and Class-Culture in midwar Gothenburg (English)
Abstract [en]

Early on the Liberal Public of the nineteenth century draw attention to thehousing problem of the poor. In Gothenburg model tenments, build by wealthy philantropists, became the normal solution. In 1S89 the first Swedish, scientific and socialhygenic study of the housing problem, were made in Gothenburg. The town planning of Lilienberg 1907-27 provided a new solution: model districts for the lower classes. The housing shortage that emerged during the first World War forced the municiple authoritys to intervene and the workers to form a popular tenements movement which from 1925 began to build on their own.

After 1875 the 'County Governor House' had been the dominant type of dwelling in the Gothenburgian labour-districts. In the memories of old workers the tenements were often remembered as rather spatious and enchanting. The every daylife of the workers family was upheld by female "networks of solidarity", a mutual social security system ruled by the superior principle: "you shall always be solidaristic with the working-class". The mores of the working class woman aimed to maintain high hygienic standards, steadiness and respectability: to make decent citizens of her children and husband.

In the midwar years the Swedish construction workers treated the challenge of technological rationalization with a militant defense of their craftman-ship and bargaining power at the work-place. The trade-cultural identity (in the eyes of the adversories: the "guild -spirit") was especially strong among the masons, whereas the carpenters were more openminded to new cooperative experiments and new technology. In Gothenburg a former carpenter became one of the most influentialfore-runners of rationalization, hygienism and functionalistic architecture.

During the nineteentwenties and thirties "functionalism" became the new ,socialhygienic solution for working-class housing in Sweden. The leading role of the architects and the close connection with the Social-Democrats gave the movement its characteristic look. Behind the 'scientific' approach of the functionalism lay a great deal of remnant socialhygienic moralism. In Gothenburg the implementation of the functionalistic design became a rather unsuccessful compromise and an unpopular alternative to the traditional County Governor House.

When the Social-Democrats keynesian "new deal" was to be implemented in 1933 it came to a confrontation with striking construction workers. In January-February an alliance of the labour government, the national trade union association (LO) and the employers forced the construction trade union leaders to sign a very unfavourable agneement which eliminated the workers right to negotiate on technological changes at the sites. During the turbulence that surrrounded the controversy the building labourer and union leader Albin Ström was excluded from his union and his party.

The fate of the dissident Strom illustrates the conflicts that emerged whithin Swedens reformistic labour movement during the midwar period between a communitarian form of socialism and a traditional concept of class-struggle. A strong class-spirit, as was the case in Gothenburg, interfered with the new classless welfare-concept of the 'Peoples Home'. Therefore, the popular tribune of class socialism - Albin Ström -had to be put out of action. The years 1933-34 became a decisive breaking point in the struggle between communitarians and class-socialists. The 1934 pamphlet of Alva and Gunnar Myrdal-Crisis in the Population Question-became the manifesto for a new classless and scientific way towardssocial welfare. This book can be seen as a culmination of the social-hygienic project in Sweden; and once again the housing issue was pointed out as the main instrument (the social technology) of forming a New Rational Man and a "normal" Family.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stehag : Symposion graduale , 1993. , 358 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 87
Keyword [en]
Housing, Working-Class Culture, Social Hygienism, Modem Architecture, Construction Workers, Social-Democratic Ideology, Mid war Gothenburg
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-35307Local ID: 26253ISBN: 91-7139-129-0OAI: diva2:256155
Public defence
1993-04-23, Sal Elysion, Hus-T, Universitetsområdet Valla, Linköping, 00:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2012-06-04Bibliographically approved

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