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Ordering the streets: The establishment of Sweden’s first police in 1776
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis considers the perceptions and enactment of social and urban order in the estate society of eighteenth-century Sweden. The central concept of order is approached as something which becomes most readily available when it has been transgressed against, and attempts are made to regain it. This is employed by exploring the practices of Sweden’s first proper police, the Royal Police Chamber of Stockholm founded in 1776, during its establishing year. The analytical part of the thesis is divided into three chapters. The first considers contemporary ideas of order in connection to the new organization, as to give a hint of the ideals which were said to be strived for. The second analytical chapter explores the nature of disorder, asking what, who and where made its way into the registers of the Chamber. Through these questions categories of disorder, norms of identification and abstract geographies are identified and used to tell of the things perceived as disorderly. In the third analytical chapter the how of ordering is considered as the acts taken against disorder are studied. Correction dominated, rather than punishment, thus echoing the ideas of order to a significant degree. Overall, this thesis can be said to accomplish in-depth basic empirical research on a hereto little studied material. The Chamber is shown to from the start to have taken an extremely active part in controlling and constructing society around it, something done by making a good effort towards fulfilling the panoptic ideal. Though not perfectly achieved, its practices are thus shown to adhere to a larger European trend of the period. Three concepts emerge as essential and fundamental to how social and urban order was perceived. These are the street and particularly the visibility thereupon exhibited, adding that order often only could be regained by establishing responsibility for those moving there. The centrality of the public sphere of the streets even goes beyond expectations and it appears as the main feature of enacting order. As such it is found to be both a material concept and imbued with meaning in itself.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 94 p.
Keyword [en]
Early modern Sweden, police, social order, urban order, surveillance
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-294499OAI: diva2:930655
Subject / course
2016-05-24, Eng2-0025, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Se ståndssamhället! Olikheternas kultur i Sverige under tidigmodern tid
Available from: 2016-06-02 Created: 2016-05-23 Last updated: 2016-06-02Bibliographically approved

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