The excluded. The "tattare" question in swedish politics 1880-1950.

Project: Dissertation

Layman's description

During the first half of the twentieth century, people known as “tattare” were considered to be a threat to society. How did Swedish municipalities and public authorities treat tattare? Was the policy on the “tattare question” a result of a welfare state ideology during the 1930s or did it emerge from the efforts of the small rural municipalities to keep poor people outside their borders?

The debate on the “tattare question” was intense during the first half of the twentieth century. In daily newspapers and films, Swedish “tattare”, were depicted as thieving, dishonest and prowling vagrants who constituted a threat to the rural population. Both the state and individual municipalities launched a comprehensive investigation into this ethnic group, which proved to be very difficult to define.

This project does not attempt to make any pronouncements on the identities or cultural peculiarities of “tattare” or the group of modern travellers often associated with the historic term. Instead, its aim is to investigate the attitudes of the surrounding society towards the group known as “tattare” and the measures taken against them.

Why was the state interested in the “tattare question” during the first half of the twentieth century? What role did eugenics play in society’s attempt to produce knowledge about “tattare”? What were the attitudes towards “tattare” in all the small Swedish municipalities where the vast majority of everyday encounters between “tattare” and the local population took place? Why did the public debate about the “tattare nuisance” disappear in the years after 1950? What was the attitude of Swedish politics to the measures taken against similar groups in Norway and the British Isles for example? And what can the “tattare issue” tell us about racism, xenophobia and exclusion in modern Sweden?
Effective start/end date2009/09/012013/12/31