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Bråkiga, lösaktiga och nagelbitande barn: Om barn och barnproblem vid en rådgivningsbyrå i Stockholm 1933-1950
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
1997 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Restless, Dissolute and Nailbiting Children : On Children and Child Problems at an Advice Bureau in Stockholm 1933-1950 (English)
Abstract [en]

In 1933 an advice and counselling bureau was established in Stockholm by the Childrens Welfare Board. This initiative was partly inspired by the mental health movement and the American child guidance clinics and the aim was to use the latest insights in psychiatry and psychology in order to offer advice and support for parents and other "upbringers of children" or, with a more cogent formulation, to "bring up the upbringers". The overall aim of this study is to investigate this bureau as an example of how the growth of the modern welfare state has affected the meanings of childhood during the 20th century, especially in what way notions of child normality and deviance are a result of political processes and professionals' interaction with children and parents.

Children were reported to the bureau by their parents, by the school and by the Childrens Welfare Board itself. It thereby became an answer to institutional demands. The bulk of the bureau's caseload consisted of children of school-age. The ideas held by the professionals and also the methods of examining the children had an impact on conceptions of normality and deviance. While the medical examinations implied a biological view of the normal, intelligence testing was built on statistical notions of normality. These conceptions of normality sometimes had a tendency to mix, for instance when decisions concerning sterilization for eugenic purposes were based upon low performance in intelligence tests.

The bureau's practice included both elements of social control and of support and the professionals took both moralistic and empathic standpoints toward the children and their parents. In this way the practise at the bureau sometimes could seem somewhat ambiguous. On the one hand children could seek, and also get, help in troublesome situations and the bureau could very much be said to be on the children's side. But on the other hand the bureau assisted to some extent in the national population policies in the inter-war years by suggesting teenagers for sterilization in accordance with Sweden's eugenic laws.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 1997. , 247 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 159
Keyword [en]
History of Childhood, Child Guidance, Welfare State, Professionalization, Psychology, Psychiatry, Upbringing, Education
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-35383Local ID: 26429ISBN: 91-7871-962-3OAI: diva2:256231
Public defence
1997-06-10, Wallenbergssalen, Östergötlands Länsmuseum, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2012-06-08Bibliographically approved

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