Bourgeois feminism or class solidarity? Working class women's actions and strategies in the bourgeois movement around the turn of the century 1900

Participants: Johanna Ringarp (head of project), Anne Berg
Funding body: Swedish Research Council (managed by Stockholm University)
Duration: 2019-2021

Around the year 1900, mass movements in the Western European states pushed for democratisation and for equal voting rights. Regarding the voting right for women, the first wave of feminism has been highlighted as a particularly important factor. Previous research has highlighted that the first wave had a bourgeois charachter, yet it engaged working class women. Few studies have sought to understand the working women's actions in these associations and explained why they chose bourgeois feminism in favor of class solidarity. The aim of this projects is to problematize the image that earlier research has drawn of the working women's agency within the framework of the first wave of feminism. We want to contribute to the theory formation of social groups' agency by using the concepts of habitus, strategy and (political and cultural) capital. The project lasts for three years and consists of two sub-studies. The first analyse why working women chose to join a bourgeois feminist movement at the turn of the 20th century by reconstructing their habitus. The second analyse how the women acted in the framework of the bourgeois feminist context and what political and cultural skills (capital) they acquired. In the project, we will analyze various forms of published and archived sources from, among others, the Tolfternas and trade unions archives in Stockholm.

Last modified: 2023-11-23