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The Peasant Imagined: Social Imaginary and Social Order in Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 80 credits / 120 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to illuminate how the Swedish peasantry was perceived by the Swedish Burgher, Clerical, and Noble Estates during the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. By studying the Diet protocols of each Estate from three Diets, and by applying the concept of social imaginary, it considers what a peasant was perceived to be, who was perceived to be a peasant, and how these perceptions changed. The period under investigation is a time when the orders of society began to change and the peasantry underwent a process of radicalization. It is also a time when the way people perceived themselves changed, from a perception of “the self” heavily influenced by the collective, to a more individualistic one. These circumstances made the Estates question the traditional ideal of what a peasant was, re-writing the social script of the peasantry to include new attributes, duties, and virtues than it did a century earlier. Three main categories are used and aims at exploring the peasantry’s perceived social dignity, political role, and economic function, each representing its respective order in estate society. The study has shown how the Estates perceived peasants to be simple, uneducated, and foolish in the early stages of the Age of Liberty (1718–1772), and that the social dignity of a peasant was fundamental in conceptualizing what and who a peasant was. This changed towards the end of the century and became much more diverse and complex during the early nineteenth century. By the early 1820’s, the Noble and Clerical Estates perceived them as competent, responsible, and as being capable of betterment and upward mobility in a spiritual and worldly sense. The Burgher Estate perceived them as self-righteous, rustic, and intrusive as they had begun to invade their cities, steeling their livelihood, and thus threatening their entire existence as an estate. The economic transformations of the period also proved how the economic function of the peasantry was now to a larger degree emphasized as the determinative factor of what social dignity and political role they should have.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 93 p.
Keyword [en]
Peasantry, peasant, social imaginary, social order, estate society, identity.
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-322560OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-322560DiVA: diva2:1098690
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Examiners
Available from: 2017-05-30 Created: 2017-05-25 Last updated: 2017-05-30Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf