Women of the Fäbod : An Ethnological Study of the Swedish Fäbod Culture at the Turn of the 20th Century
Sammanfattning: The purpose of this study is to explore the meaning of womanhood in relation to the Swedish fäbod culture at the turn of the 20th century. The study is based upon a questionnaire from 1928 and the material is collected from the archives at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm and the Institute for Language and Folklore in Uppsala. Drawing upon gender and ritual theories, the study intends to gain an understanding for what it meant to be a woman of the fäbod by examining how fäbod herdswomen were culturally shaped and initiated into women both in relation to their place in the fäbod community of herdswomen, but also in respect to the wider community and society of which they were a part of. The main conclusion of the study is that the journey into the fäbod woods can be seen as a rite of passage where adolescent girls going to the fäbod for the first time were initiated into the fäbod community of herdswomen. Womanhood is a cultural phenomenon in which women are culturally shaped and initiated into women not only by the codes, conceptions and values of the society at large, but also by the stories, customs and traditions of their local communities. The fäbod herdswomen were born into the gender power structures of a patriarchal society that sought to shape them into promising wives, and they were also women of the fäbod, initiated into the fäbod communitas, a form of female counterculture with its very own musical language, customs and traditions, and with its very own definitions of womanhood.
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