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Från arbete till hobby: En studie av pedagogisk filantropi i de svenska arbetsstugorna
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
1999 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
From Work to Hobby : A Study of Pedagogical Philanthropy in the Swedish Arbetsstugor (English)
Abstract [en]

The overall objective of this study is to examine why the arbetsstuga unlike other philanthropic projects, did not survive the introduction and establishment of the Swedish welfare state.

The aim formulated for arbetsstugor by their initiators was to provide meaningful after-school activities for the poorest children between seven and fourteen years of age who attended public elementary schools. Children usually attended the arbetsstuga, girls and boys separately, every other day, except Sundays, for approximately two hours.

The study focuses on how the arbetsstugor spread all over Sweden, who organised them, and how? Who were the individuals or organisation which financed them? Who were the teachers in the arbetsstugor? Did they have professional ambitions like other "childsaving" groups? The content of the work with children in arbetsstugor and the underlying pedagogical ideas are examined. The study also explores connections between arbetsstugor and the public elementary school. The development of the former is studied, attempting to explain why they did not survive.

In the 1920's, City councils and child care committees (compulsory for the municipalities since 1924) became increasingly inclined to assume a guiding influence over the institutions for children which they supported financially towards the aims of the emerging welfare state. Children having to work for meals or money after school was no longer considered ideologically acceptable.

Arbetsstugor co-operated closely with the public elementary schools which also offered free use of their premises. Many male and female teachers received additional income from teaching e.g. sloyd and sewing after regular lessons.

The development of the public elementary school had an obvious impact on arbetsstugor. In the early days, arbetsstugor served as a reliable complement to schools by serving meals and offering activities such as handicraft.

School reform introduced subjects like sloyd, and increasingly the provision of school meals. Consequently arbetsstugor lost some of their most vital functions.

Work in arbetsstugor never became a profession. The staff consisted of people with different professional backgrounds. In the beginning it served the professional interests of the school teachers to work in arbetsstugor. . Once arbetsstugor came under the supervision by the child care committees in the 1920's this professional interest was transferred to the kindergarten teachers, who regarded themselves as experts on children and their needs. The group that wanted to make a profession out of working in the arbetsstugor thus also bad an interest in changing the contents of it.

The name of the institution arbetsstuga (work cottage) was probably beneficial during the first three decades, but the name later became a burden when the conception of childhood changed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 1999. , 335 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 198
Keyword [en]
History of childhood, child care, child labour, child saving, education, philanthropy, social welfare, welfare state, profession
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-35392Local ID: 26548ISBN: 91-7219-489-8OAI: diva2:256240
Public defence
1999-05-27, Hörsal Planck, Fysikhuset, Universitetsområdet Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2012-06-11Bibliographically approved

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