The narrative about 1814 in Norway has largely been a national narrative, about kings and princes, the political elite, the constitution and war and peace. But how has 1814 looked through the glasses of historians working on local or regional history? What has attracted their interest, or has it even been much interest in 1814 from a local perspective at all? A new bibliography about historical literature from 1814 that has been written on the local and regional level has recently been published at www.lokahistoriewiki.no. The work has been conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Local history. With the new bibliography as starting point, this article suggest some answers on the questions above, as well as suggesting some fields of interest where the local and regional literature can contribute in the greater understanding about 1814 in Norwegian history.
In this article, the most important hypotheses investigated in the project 'Cultural perspectives on the relations between farmers and government officials', which has been conducted at the Unversity College at Volda since 2008, are discussed. The analysis of relations of godparentage can be an immediate and manageable way to seek the answers to some of the main questions. The choice of godparents among farmers and officials can probably tell us also something about social contact. Comparison of the choice of godparents in two ten-year periods, from the middle of the 18th and 19th centuries respectively, in Hosanger parish in North Hordaland, shows clearly that there was closer social contact between farmers and officials in the first period. Random data from other areas suggest that this finding is not unique to Hosanger. This is only partly in keeping with our hypotheses. We had believed that the growth of literacy among the farmers, their more developed political roles, and the emerging culture of organisation, could have led to closer contact between them and the officials.
Otherwise, it would in general appear that the choice of godparents by farmers became more privatised, restricted to close neighbours and family. Among the officials, this would suggest stronger social distinction. Government officials were without doubt more concerned with their role as officials, but can obviously have had more contact with farmers in others areas of life than the purely private.
The main goal of the paper is to investigate the practice of standing as, and choosing for own children, godparents for the civil servants and their families in these two parishes in two periods: the 1720s–1740s and the 1830s–1840s, as a part of the project described by Atle Døssland in this issue of Heimen.
The two parishes in this investigation are situated in a mountain area far away from any town, with a small number of civil servants and other elite people. But the baptisms in the church records shows that the civil servants must have had more visitors from their own kind living in the area, sometimes for a long time, but without leaving any other traces in the sources than godparenthood.
The peasant group of the area must also be divided in sub-groups based on levels of prosperity, from those with a high social standing who were owners of large, prosperous farms, down to cotters under such farms, living at a subsistence level. The investigation shows that the civil servants stood as godparents for all sub-groups of peasant in the first period. In the second, they increasingly limited their social relations to their own group and family, and the wealthier farmers, as found by Døssland in Hosanger.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, a transformation from self-supported husbandry to a more efficient livestock production took place. The present paper outlines this transformation, and discusses milk production on a farm in light of the general development. The cow milk protocol originated from a farm in a mountain valley region in south-east Norway where the cows were kept on summer mountain pasture, and much of the hay used during the winter was harvested from outlying fields (forested hills or mountain areas). The data included monthly records of individual cow milk yield, and data were analyzed for the periods 1865-71, 1879-84 and 1889-92. There was no increase in average milk yield per cow from the first to the second period, whereas a marked increase took place from the second to the third period (from 1,521 to 1,801 kilograms). The majority of the calves were born between March and May, and about 30 % of the total production took place on summer pasture. The last decade of the nineteenth century was a transitional period where several factors related to crop harvesting, feeding and breeding were improved. The data from the present study illustrate how these improvements resulted in higher milk yields.
This article investigates development and societal aspects of Large Technological Systems (LTS) from a bottom-up perspective, focusing on the distribution of telephone and electricity in Nordland County in the first half of the twentieth century. Here, both systems were initiated bottom-up as well as top-down, and unsynchronised. In a time and place where self-supply was common, the threshold for building local provisional solutions differed from that of our times. This fits well with how Rogers conceptualises decentralised diffusion of innovations, which is likely to take place parallel to a top-down and centralised distribution: 'Then the new ideas spread horizontally via peer networks, with a high degree of re-inventing occurring as the innovations were modified by users to fit their particular conditions. […] decision-making in the diffusion system is widely shared with adopters making many decisions.' (Rogers 2003: 395) Furthermore, the article highlights some significant gender differences between adopters and users of these then-new technologies. The article is based on statistics, archives and interviews.