Nyktra kvinnor : Folkbildare, företagare och politiska aktörer. Vita Bandet 1900-1930
Sammanfattning: In this thesis the female Christian temperance union the White Ribbon is in focus. The White Ribbon was founded in Stockholm in 1900 and it was part of the international organization World’s Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WWCTU). The organization’s ambition was to create a temperate and moral society, running a variety of philanthropic institutions and adult education, as well as non-alcohol serving restaurants.The aim of the thesis is to study the White Ribbon’s social and political commitment and its ideological approach during the first three decades of the 20th century. The White Ribboners’ ideological approach and culture are problematized in relation to the prevailing and predominant view on women. The organization’s monthly journal has been closely studied and the ideas and practical social and political commitment have been analyzed in a theoretical perspective of social movement theory, according to the Swedish sociologist Håkan Thörn’s methodological framework. This theoretical approach is an instrument to analyze what the White Ribbon identified to be social problems; what was considered to be the reasons for these problems; and what strategy the organization regarded to be the best way to deal with them in order to reach the prognosticated change.The analysis shows that the White Ribbon identified the predominant gender system and the bourgeois view on women as a primary social problem. The organization’s strategy was to eliminate the patriarchal order of the gender system and to change the attitude of people through adult education, information and persuasion. The White Ribbon participated in public debate pursuing temperance and women’s suffrage, and was a lobbyist proposing motions and demanding legislative reforms. The White Ribbon’s ideological approach, as well as their philanthropic activities emanated from a bourgeois ideal of conscientiousness and cultivation, and from an interest in social politics. This was in contrast to the bourgeois view of what the ideal woman should do. From the White Ribboners’ point of view, society could only prosper when women had the same rights as men, and could participate the public sphere and become involved in politics.The study shows that the organization worked hard for equality and democracy, pursuing a feminist and liberal ideology. The White Ribboners regarded themselves, and also acted, as political agents. They introduced and increased women’s possibilities for adult education. They initiated and provided social protection for alcohol addicted women, and for poor and fallen women and girls. These activities must be seen as forms of enterprises and the White Ribboners as entrepreneurs, since these institutions were, in fact, innovations and models for solving problems in order to build a welfare system and to create a temperate and prosperous society. The thesis put forward arguments that the White Ribbon’s social and political work are political innovations and important elements in the process of democratization and, therefore, played an important part in this process.
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