Varierande titulatur: En jämförelse av titlar och social stratifiering i tre källtyper under svenskt 1730-tal


  • Henrik Ågren Uppsala universitet



Varying Titling: A Comparison of Titles and Social Stratification in 1730s Sweden 

This study analyses the relation between styles of addressing people and social stratification in 1730s Sweden. The aim is to see how titles signalled social belonging in practice, specifically when people communicated reciprocally. In an earlier study, titles painted a unanimous picture of social stratification. Borders between social groups were not always the same as in ideal descriptions of early modern society, but were strictly consistent. There would be little room for change if that were the entire truth; unanimous systems remain stable.

That study, however, was based on only one type of source material: court protocols. This study, therefore, tests whether other types of material will give a more varied result. To do so, two source types have been studied: letters and occasional poetry. In both, unlike court protocols, private persons addressed one another.

The results show that private persons practised more variety in title choices. This meant that sometimes the social differences were more pronounced, although more often they were less so. Titles were chosen more to please than to categorise. Even though the differences were small, these sources indicate a potential for change, which is a result that will be important for future research.


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