"The Glittering Misery" has treated certain aspects of Swedish society during the decades around the turn of the 19th Century. The enlisted men of the Crown Prince´s Hussar Regiment in Malmö have been utilised as a means by which to analyse society at this point in time. Questions which have been answered are: who the hussars were and what sort of life did they lead? What form did the relationships between hussars take, as well as those with the town´s folk? And, not least of all, what was the concept behind actually being a hussar? One of the main aims of this investigation has been to make a more general commentary on the Male Ideal, as it was then perceived, through a consideration of the hussar´s behavioural patterns. Service in the hussars must always be seen in relation to those alternatives which were available to a young member of the proletariat. A proportion undoubtedly had it better as a hussar than they would have had earlier. But for others service was probably a bitter disappointment. For the majority time spent in the regiment was most likely just another experience in a hard proletarian life. It is possible that the experience of being a hussar came to influence and strengthen, for some even create, their male identity. For it was just here in the barracks that a male ideal was constructed. This ideal most likely permeated even through other groups of workers, but in the barracks it was cultivated and put on a pinnacle. It is evident that the male ideal, which existed among other proletarian groups - for example among the dock workers, seamen and railway workers - was strengthened and clarified in the barracks. Among other ways, the hussars found an expression for their masculinity - that is to say, made their declaration of being real men - by pointedly demarcating themselves from the behavioural patterns of women. This was done by aid of behavioural traits and habits well and truly divorced from feminine ones - for example; through tattooing and tobacco consumption; through the use of vulgar language; and by attaching a romance to both drinking and fighting. To a high degree it was through the relationships towards one´s hussar comrades that the identity as a man was constructed. A conclusion can therefore be drawn that manliness was created through relationships to other men - specifically to men in one´s own group - and not only to women and male outsiders. So, for example, bullying became a means by which to confirm one´s own identity. The regiment´s activities also contributed to how the male identity expressed itself. As a preparation for the demands and pressures of war, all enlisted personnel had to be toughened up. Therefore self-control and grace unnder pressure became the perhaps most important aspects to the turn of the century´s military male ideal.
|Award date||1998 Jan 24|
|Publication status||Published - 1997|
Bibliographical noteDefence details
Place: Department of History, Lund, sal 3.
Name: Norman, Hans
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Contemporary history (circa 1800 to 1914)
- Modern historia (ca. 1800-1914)