Neither Reform nor Rescue

“Woman's Work” Ordinary Culture, and the Articulation of Modern Swedish Femininities

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
JoAnn Conrad Diablo Valley College jac5353@aol.com

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This article examines the role of women in the construction of modern Swedish subjectivity through their participation in both quotidian activities and their networks of relations. Taking the work of Barbro Klein as a point of departure, I argue that Swedish women of the fin de siècle worked within overlapping and interconnected women’s networks through which they fashioned their own responses to the pressures of modernity within particular configurations of gender. Combining the social and political, formal and informal, labor and leisure, they created spaces for alternate cultural, commercial and social responses. These spaces from which femininity was lived as a positionality in discourse and social practice challenge the false dichotomies of past–future and tradition–modernity which have been central to the disciplinary narrative of folklore studies.

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