Women and Men in the Coastal Districts of the Swedish Westcoast.


This study will show the differences in the conditions of life for men and women during the earlier part of the 20th century and the consequences thereof. The men lived far from home a great part of the year, because of their deep-sea fishing. One notices the responsibility the women had in many areas of life. They developed a significant independence within their areas of responsibility. The areas for which the men carried responsibility at home were connected to the sea. Men and women avoided interfering into each other's tasks. The women at the coast were responsible for more than what was usual in other milieux both in the country- side and in towns. The women's main responsibility for the economy can be noticed in their care of the money which the men earned from fishing, as well as the income from letting accomodations to summer visitors. This, in my view, has strengthened the women's position in the home. In the contacts with strangers, the women at the coast have proved to be conscious of the norms and ideologies which they represented. They were openly opposed to things which conflicted with their views and they tried to ward off other influences from outside. The Swedish men were both well received and regarded as competitors in Norwegian harbours. The men have been more changeable than the women and tolerant towards new ideas. The reason for this, may be that they had a more mobile life than the women and consequently also got more impressions from other ideological views and ways of life than what they were confronted with among the women at home. This openmindedness lessened conflicts when they visited Norwegian harbours.

How to Cite

Gustavsson, A., (1985) “Women and Men in the Coastal Districts of the Swedish Westcoast.”, Ethnologia Europaea 16(1), 149-172. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1411


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Anders Gustavsson (University of Uppsala)



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