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Infanticide, abortion, children, and childhood in Sweden 1000-1980
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2012 (English)In: The Routledge History of Childhood in the Western World / [ed] Paula S. Fass, London and New York: Routledge, 2012, 360-379 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The life course of women and men in most soc1et1es simply does not allow for childbirth and rearing during the entire period women are able to reproduce. Choices ha ve always been made not to ha ve children. Child bearing and the choices it involves have also been a source of social, cultural, and political conflict as the historiography of women, family, and fertility makes very clear. Yet it is also evident that revealing a society's attitudes towards infanticide and abortion, the subjects dealt with here, exposes the parameters of what is sanctioned or accepted as ways to limit reproduction in any particular society at any particular moment in time. Determining these restrictions has been central to policies on the regulation of populations practiced by the church, the state, government agencies, and civil society organizations such as medical societies and philanthropic organizations. Boundaries were also set by the norms developed in families and kinship networks. The negotiations related to these !imitations reflect not only the position of women and concepts of family, but they are also integrated into the understanding of children and childhood during different periods of time.

Critical issues such as these have been addressed through legal changes, the development and use of church registers, the establishment of midwives, the refinement of statistical surveys, the spread of education, and the conscious development of family and population policy. In a wider context, the understanding of populationchange and analyses of sexual behavior also had a bearing on and interacted with the techniques and technology of governance as early as the introduction of Chnstianity, during the debates on the high rates of infanticide of the seventeenth century, during the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century discussions about the predicament of unwed mothers, and in the discussions on the rise of the welfare system <luring the early to mid-twentieth century. The alternatives that emerged over the course of the centuries - criminalization, moral sanctions, more lenient legislation, the use of welfare schemes, and information campaigns - all had relevance, but the development of new surveillance techniques and knowledge systems also formed and transformed the understandings of the identity of the fetus and the newly born. The conflicts during the introduction of the Christian church form the backdrop for this article, begmnmg with the early modern era. It continues through the pivotal legislative action of the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, and then discusses the political and sc1enufic premises on which the Swedish welfare system was created in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London and New York: Routledge, 2012. 360-379 p.
, Routledge Histories
Keyword [en]
Children -- Western countries -- History, Children -- History
Keyword [sv]
Barndomen -- historia, Västerlandet
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-81362ISBN: 978-04-1578-232-6ISBN: 0-4157-8-232-5OAI: diva2:551952


Introduction. Is There a Story in the History of Childhood? Paula S. Fass. Part I Childhood in the Ancient World, the Middle Ages and Early Modern Europe. 1.1 Childhood in the Ancient World up to Christianity. Keith Bradley 1.2. Childhood in Judaism and Christianity. Margaret King 1.3. Childhood in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Europe. Joanne Ferraro 1.4. Childhood and the Enlightenment: The Complications of Innocence. Larry Wolff Part II Creating Childhoods in the Western World Since 1600. 2.1. Parents and Children. Julia Grant 2.2. Children’s Work in Countryside and City. Colin Heywood 2.3. Children and War. James Marten 2.4. The Emotional Life of Children. Peter Stearns 2.5. Children and the State. James Schmidt 2.6. The Vexed History of Children and Sex. Beth Bailey. 2.7. Age, Schooling and Life Stages. Stephen Lassonde 2.8. Adolescence. Don Romesburg 2.9. The Physical Spaces of Childhood. Marta Gutman 2.10. Games, Toys and Play. Gary Cross 2.11. Children and Consumption. Daniel Thomas Cook 2.12. Picturing Children in the Modern West. Anne Higonnet 2.13. Children’s Literature. Maria Nikolajeva. Part III Special Children at Special Times or Places 3.1. Children in North American Slavery. Steven Mintz 3.2. Mixed Race Children in the American West. Anne Hyde 3.3. Infanticide and Abortion in Sweden. Bengt Sandin 3.4. Dependent Children, Social Welfare, and the Rights of Children. Ivan Jablonka 3.5. Children as Vagrants, Vagabonds, and Thieves. Timothy Gilfoyle 3.6. Scouting and Other Organizations for Children and Youth. Jay Mechlin 3.7. Children in the Great Depression in the United States. Kriste Lindenmeyer 3.8. Childhood in Nazi Germany. Dirk Schumann 3.9. International Child Saving. Dominique Marshall 3.10. Latin American Childhoods. Nara Milanich

Available from: 2012-09-12 Created: 2012-09-12 Last updated: 2014-12-05Bibliographically approved

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