Scouting at Home: Family Virtues and Domestic Ideals in the Swedish Scout Movement 1910–1960

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


This paper examines how organizations for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in Sweden dealt with domestic and parental issues, from the movement’s inception in 1910 to 1960. The perspective is twofold. First, it discusses how ideals and expectations concerning participation in domestic matters differed for boys and girls. Were these gender roles stable or changeable? Secondly, it brings to light how parental involvement in Swedish scouting affected the movement as a whole, even changing it in unexpected ways. While the early Scout movement primarily offered training ‘in good citizenship’ through camp life and outdoor exercises, Scouts and Guides were also expected to become obedient and helpful members of both family and society. However, since the Scout sought to give children experiences that were not easily offered at home, scout leaders had to convince doubtful parents that their children were better off if they spent more time away from home. After the Second World War, The Swedish Boy Scout Association launched a campaign to get more parents involved in the movement, hoping to recruit new leaders and strengthen local groups. Parental involvement in scouting was potentially problematic. Would the authority of Scout leaders be undermined if they relied more heavily on support from parents? In the long term, increased participation of parents arguably had a profound impact on scouting in Sweden, contributing to the 1960 merger of the Associations for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts into a single organization.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 25
EventSociety for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY), 2015 - University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 2015 Jun 252015 Jun 27
Conference number: 6


ConferenceSociety for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY), 2015

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History


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