«Kunnskap for framtida»

Cultural Perspective in the meeting of Civil Servants and peasant farmers – summary

This project will focus on the established notion that during the period 1660 to 1870, there was a simple duality in Norwegian society: an elite culture (dominated by civil servants) and a folk culture (dominated by peasant farmers). The project’s aim is to question this essentialism, and present a more nuanced view. Firstly, both the elite and the peasant farmers, and the cultures they represented, were far more complex than is implied by the dualistic approach. The cultures were also coupled by vertical ties (patron-client links). Secondly, the theory will be that there were several regional cultural differences, and therefore also differences in the way the cultures interacted. The project will therefore have a regional focus. Theories and typologies regarding disciplinary lines, structure of society, and not least patron-client links, will be important tools in the approach. Microhistorical methods will also be employed where relevant.

The project will be implemented as three integral sub-projects: (1) Civil servants’ and peasant farmers’ orientation and views, their cultural distinctions and the way they perceived themselves, in a regional comparison. (2) The Civil servants’ social and economic relations with the peasant farming society (a microhistorical approach) and (3) The basis of power, execution of power and regional adjustments. The project participants will consist of a group of permanent employees of the Institute of History and the Institute of Religion, Ethics and Christianity, and other Institutes cooperating with these, such as the Norwegian Institute of Local History in Oslo. The research will however mainly be done by two advertised PhD scholarships and one post.doc scholarship.


(Translated by Andrew Newby)