Ansikte mot ansikte. Räddningsarbete bland prostituerade kvinnor i Sverige 1850-1920.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The object of this thesis is a Swedish religious reform movement that, from mid nineteenth century to early twentieth century, undertook social work intended to ‘rescue’ female prostitutes. The purpose of the study is to illuminate the encounter between two groups of women, the rescuers and the rescued. This encounter is principally seen from the rescuer’s perspective, since it is the rescue movement itself that is the focus of the thesis. However, a recently discovered letter collection has made it possible to analyze a female prostitute’s views on such an encounter, and indeed on the entire rescue project.

The thesis is divided into three sections. In Rescue work 1850 to 1920, I identify the reform movement. In The geography of rescue I analyse the rescue movement’s ideology, paying particular attention to how it expressed its views on women and the space they occupied. In the final section, Rescue as a dialogue, I examine the reform project on an individual level, using the letter collection mentioned above as my principal source. The collection includes an extensive correspondence between a deaconess and a prostitute.

Besides annual reports, pamphlets, journals, albums, and brochures, the source material consists of other printed material such as biographies, autobiographies and daily newspapers, together with drawings, photographs, and architectural plans. I also use unpublished material such as diaries, letters, journal annotations, and minutes.

The thesis concludes that intimacy and power are main themes in an analysis of these women’s relationship, and that any analysis of power relationships in this kind of rescue work must take into account the religious context of the reform movement.


  • Anna Jansdotter
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History


  • Contemporary history (circa 1800 to 1914), private space., public space, difference, ideology, power, women, gender, conversion, revivalist movement, social work, rescue work, reform movement, prostitution, Sweden, 1850-1920, Modern historia (ca. 1800-1914), Contemporary history (since 1914), Nutidshistoria (från 1914)
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2004 Sep 25
  • Brutus Östlings Bokförlag Symposion
Print ISBNs91-7139-644-6
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2004-09-25 Time: 10:15 Place: Department of History, sal 3 External reviewer(s) Name: Rosenbeck, Bente Title: Professor Affiliation: Köpenhamns Universitet ---