Call for papers

Conference: Masculinity, modernisation and societal reforms in the Nordic Countries, 1900–1960

Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland, November 16th–18th, 2011.

The first half of the twentieth century brought profound changes in the meanings of manhood in the Nordic societies. Modernisation processes, democratisation and the emergence of Nordic welfare states, but also nationalism and patriotic mobilisation for two world wars, marked an era that reshaped male citizenship.

The political and social duties and rights attached to manhood increasingly became the subject of shifting and contradictory political claims. So did also the communities and social exclusions constituted according to intersections of manhood, ethnicity, age, confession and other social categories.

In view of the large field of gender history studies of women’s citizenship, there is an evident need for more studies that apply a gender perspective on male citizenship. This conference aims at bringing together international scholarship on how social change and societal reforms both remodelled and were shaped by concepts of masculinity and male citizenship in the Nordic countries, ca 1900–1960.

We call for papers that analyse how masculinities were affected by the transformations of modernisation, but also how masculinity was instrumentally used to either further or resist social change. The social and political arenas involved range from male positions in the family, the labour market or the religious sphere to land ownership, social and public policy, and military service.

Keynote speakers:

Professor Gro Hagemann (Oslo University), an expert on citizenship, modernisation, household work and feminist historiography, will talk on critically assessing the uses of the concept of citizenship within gender history.

Professor Ella Johansson (Uppsala University), an expert on working class culture and early industrialisation in Northern rural areas, will talk on the impact of modernisation and social reforms on working class masculinities.

PhD Ann-Catrin Östman (Åbo Akademi University), an expert on gender and modernisation in the peasant society, will talk on debates over land reforms and rhetorics of masculinity.

Registration, abstract and paper deadlines:

Please register for the conference per e-mail to to conference co-ordinator Anders Ahlbäck,, by May 31st, 2011. Those who wish to make a presentation of cirka 15 minutes at the conference are kindly requested to send an abstract of ca. 300 words in connection with their registration.

Conference papers (circa 10 pages) are requested to be handed in to the organisers for circulation by September 30th 2011.

Practical information:

The conference will start with an opening afternoon session at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16th, allowing for participants to travel to Turku the same day. The conference ends on Friday, November 18th, in the early afternoon. There are mid-day connections to Turku airport from Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Budapest (direct flights from Riga and Gdansk arrive in the evening). Turku can also be reached by ferry from Stockholm and by bus or train (ca 2,5 hours) from Helsinki.

There will be no conference fee. Participants should, however, arrange for their own accomodation. A list of recommended hotels near the conference venue will be provided to participants upon registration.

For further information, please e-mail