Most people understand that literacy can be a major source of socio-political power in the present time, and it is noticeable that literacy is often studied by social scientists. But what about historians? Which aspects do they look at when they study literacy? Christoffer Åhlman, a Ph.D. student working in the Gender and Work project at the Department of History, Uppsala University, looks at the interconnection of literacy, women, education, and marriage in the early modern social context. Read on to dive with Christoffer.
How do historians and economic historians define words like, for instance, work, household, marriage, mistresses, and professionalism? What are the connections between work, social status, and social power? How do we distinguish between inner and outer management? What was the importance of networks and social connections? Why did people stay together in the household? What brought them together in the first place? These are only some of the fundamental yet perplexing questions that are often discussed by academics and historians. In the workshop organized by the Gender and Work project on November 2, 2017, the researchers from Sweden and Finland enthusiastically approached these questions through their current research projects, tackled many grand narratives about early modern people’s working life, and shed light on the concept of ‘work’ and the concept of ‘gender’.