Stadens gränsplatser : Kungliga Poliskammaren och vardagens omstridda rum i Stockholm, 1776–1835

Sammanfattning: This dissertation explores the interaction between the inhabitants of Stockholm and the constables of the Royal Police Chamber—Sweden’s first police force—during a period in the city’s history that is associated with stagnation from the perspectives of demography and economy. The aim is to understand how space was negotiated and changed over time through everyday interactions and practices. The central question is why certain places in the urban space of Stockholm were contested. The investigation is carried out through three thematic parts. Each part investigates kinds of disorder that exhibited clear elements of spatial contestation: homelessness, pub keeping, and sanitation. Each theme is explored by considering the cases that occurred in 1776–1777, 1804, and 1835. On an empirical level, the dissertation provides new information about the practices exercised in the meeting between Stockholm’s population and its agents of order. On a more abstract level, the dissertation engages critically with and adds to current theoretical perspectives on cities and spatiality. The interaction between the ideas and reality of urban space is clarified. Suggestions are made on possible approaches to studies of cities of comparable size and in a similar period.The answer to the central question—why certain places within the urban space of Stockholm were contested—is that they were border or peripheral places. At these places, the ordered city was mainly under threat and negations could occur. Rather than an unchanging city due to stagnation, a dynamic city with micro-geographies that changed in several ways is shown.The dissertation exposes previously underexplored depths of the studied time period. Households became smaller and excluded people who took to the city by “rough sleeping”. Pubs and similar drinking establishments became more distinguished from private homes and less mobile in the urban space. The flows of uncleanliness became more controlled and directed away from the public sphere of the streets. A central result is that an urban space consisting of porous boundaries and general transgressions gave way to one of hardened and more stabilized borders. Contestation and negotiations about borders moved where these were placed in Stockholm. Small, everyday geographies shifted and became more well-organized and closed. The boundaries of the city became, over time, clearer and more essential to keep. New border places arose and old ones were reshaped. By analyzing the practices of the city’s inhabitants and police force, it is apparent how an urban space became atomized.

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