Expeditioner i det förflutna : etnologiska fältarbeten och försvinnande allmogekultur under 1900-talets början

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


In the first decades of the twentieth century there were fieldwork expeditions in rural Sweden, documenting archaic buildings and villages in words and pictures. These documentation efforts were part of a larger context, where the ambition was to survey and collect all aspects of what was presumed to be a vanishing peasant culture. The documentation was carried out by several different museums and archives, with the Nordiska Museet as the major actor. Young men who had studied art history, Scandinavian languages, and archaeology did fieldwork during the summers in the Swedish countryside, travelling by train and bicycle. They documented everything from entire villages to individual buildings, using cameras and various types of measuring instruments, and writing descriptions in words. The result of the documentation was a large number of archival records with photographs, drawings, and descriptions which are stored today in the Nordiska Museet and the Folklife Archives in Lund, besides a number of smaller museums. The aim of establishing an archival record was that it would be a medium conveying knowledge about a material reality from a certain time and place to another.
The problem studied in the dissertation is the relationship between practical fieldwork and processes of scientific knowledge. The focus is on everyday life in the field and the function played by technology and tools for the fieldwork and for the production of scientific knowledge. The aim of the dissertation is to use examples from the fieldwork practice of documenting buildings to investigate how scientific knowledge is produced. The study is confined to a specific time – from the 1910s to the early 1930s – and a particular place – Sweden and to some extent the rest of Scandinavia. These chronological and spatial boundaries have been set on the basis of the qualities and limitations of the available source material. Figuring in the dissertation are persons, publications, and practices that were significant in the museum system and in early ethnology in Sweden. The study can be read as a contribution to the disciplinary history of ethnology and museum history, viewed through the fieldwork practice rather than through the texts written by the early ethnologists or the biographies written about the great men who are usually pointed out as the pioneers of the subject.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cultural Studies


  • building culture, ethnology, history of discipline, fieldworks, technology
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2014 Oct 10
  • Nordiska museets förlag
Print ISBNs978-91-7108-570-2
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2014-10-10 Time: 13:15 Place: Sal B251, LUX, Helgonavägen 3, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Silvén, Eva Title: fil dr Affiliation: Nordiska museet ---

Total downloads

No data available