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En tredje vending i barndomshistorien? – fra struktur til kultur og materialitet

f. 1948, dr.philos. 1997, professor i historie ved Høgskolen i Telemark.

ellen.schrumpf@hit.no

  • Side: 251-278
  • Publisert på Idunn: 2012-07-04
  • Publisert: 2012-07-04

Kan det å innlemme materialitet som fortolkningskategori bidra til at for-

tidens barn og barndom kan forstås på nye måter? I denne artikkelen – og med bakgrunn i nordisk barndomshistories historiografi – åpnes det for en tredje vending i barndomshistorien, nemlig den materielle. Perspektivet prøves ut på et utvalg arbeiderminner, og målet er å fange inn hvordan barnet som subjekt og substans og kropp er formet av og selv erfarer og former de materielle omgivelsene. Artikkelen viser hvordan barn som vokste opp på Kristianias østkant rundt 1900 erfarte tilværelsens materialitet slik den manifesterte seg i boligen, i forhold til mat og klær og sykdom og død, og hvordan barn gjennom disse erfaringene ble et arbeiderklassebarn.

A Third Turn in Childhood History? Structure, Culture and Materiality

Since childhood history became established as an academic discipline in the Nordic countries in the 1970s two main perspectives have had an impact on historiography. First, in the 1970s and 1980s, and influenced by social history, phenomena in childhood history were explained as determined by economic and social structures. Second, and according to the cultural turn of the 1990s, the perspective was «de-centred» and directed towards the child, the family and the local community. The child was then interpreted as a historical agent who participated and made decisions that influenced his/her and the family’s life. Phenomena in childhood history were interpreted as expressions of culture. In this article, a third turn in childhood history is suggested, namely the material turn. Introducing materiality as a category of interpretation, the author understands the child as a physical being shaped by physical circumstances in the environment, but also as a subject who experienced and influenced the environment. The aim of the material turn is to broaden the perspective to see how the child was a complex historical phenomenon.  Old worker’s recollections are used as empirical sources to test the suggested material perspective. How did children living in the working-class part of Kristiania (Oslo) around 1900 experience the material environment as manifested in the homes, in clothes and food and in relation to sickness and death in the families? The answers in this article indicate that the child experienced and sensed the environment with his/her body and that gender and physical constitution and age were decisive for how the child shaped his/her world. The environment imposed certain demands on the child, and through responding to these demands the child shaped and was himself/herself shaped by the surroundings and thus became a member of the working class.

Keywords: Childhood history, Working-class, Materiality, Historiography
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