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The Right to a Nice Home: Housing inspection in 1930s Stockholm
Södertörn University, School of Gender, Culture and History, Institute of Contemporary History.
2012 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of History, ISSN 0346-8755, Vol. 37, no 4, 461-481 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article deals with how the authorities taught the Swedes to live and how Swedish citizens came to accept such an intimate encroachment in their private lives. Why did people accept these social experts of everyday life? The answer tells us something about modern society and modernity itself. Around the turn of the 20th century, Stockholm had one of Europe's worst housing conditions, according to Swedish experts of the time. One-room apartments were the norm, even for large families. Not all buildings had running water and often several families shared one outhouse. At the same time, the idea that the home was the place in which the conscientious citizens of the future would be raised was introduced - in Sweden as elsewhere. Dwellings became part of the social question. Many people believed that a well-functioning home would improve other aspects of life as well: men would stay at home in the evening instead of going to pubs; women would do a better job of raising the children; and public health would improve. A neglected home was seen as a sign of the exact opposite; the right to a nice home turned into a duty to live well. As an extension of this idea, housing inspections became important processes in the effort to improve the lives of citizens. The inspections were carried out by municipal employees, who were expected to monitor people's everyday lives. They functioned as housing experts, but what did these social engineers actually do? How did they become housing experts? And was their encroachment into people's daily lives accepted by ordinary citizens?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 37, no 4, 461-481 p.
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-17752DOI: 10.1080/03468755.2012.703106ISI: 000308988100003Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84866675911OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-17752DiVA: diva2:579151
Available from: 2012-12-19 Created: 2012-12-19 Last updated: 2014-07-03Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • 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