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Wednesday 18 March 2020 11.00 - 13.00
ZA-2 POL11 Money, Gender and Political Citizenship: Economic Voting Restrictions in the Nordic Countries Before and After Universal Suffrage
Van Wijkplaats 4, 005
Networks: Economic History , Politics, Citizenship, and Nations , Women and Gender Chair: Bengt Sandin
Organizer: Fia Sundevall Discussants: -
Minna Harjula : The Poor Excluded from Voting: Political and Social Citizenship in Finland, 1906–1970
Although universal suffrage was implemented in Finland in national elections (1906) and in local elections (1917/1919), poor relief recipients were, among others, excluded from voting rights. Until the 1940s, regular poor relief was an obstacle for voting. Even after that, many receivers of poor relief were excluded because they were ... (Show more)
Although universal suffrage was implemented in Finland in national elections (1906) and in local elections (1917/1919), poor relief recipients were, among others, excluded from voting rights. Until the 1940s, regular poor relief was an obstacle for voting. Even after that, many receivers of poor relief were excluded because they were under the guardianship of the local board of public welfare. Furthermore, voting practices were exclusive, as poor relief institutions were not accepted as polling stations until the late 1960s. The connection between poverty and the right to vote was totally abolished only in 1970.

The exclusion of poor relief receivers from voting rights indicates the interconnection between political and social citizenship. Until the national old age pension (1937, 1956) and health insurance (1963) were enacted in Finland, sickness and old age were the most common causes of the need for poor relief. My paper analyses the linkages of political and social citizenship and discusses how the processes relate to welfare state development in Finland. The expanding of the right to vote carried a multidimensional redefinition of the borders of citizenship. (Show less)

Ragnheiður Kristjánsdóttir : Suffrage, Gender and Class. Women’s Suffrage and the Construction and Constraints of a Lawful Citizen in Iceland
In Iceland, as elsewhere in Europe, women’s suffrage “challenged the gendered meaning of political citizenship” (Ida Blom, 2012). Linking together feminist theories of intersectionality, women´s agencies, and citizenship, this paper examines how socio-cultural categories like class, age, nationality, race/ethnicity, (dis)ability or health and marital status, affected women’s capacities to ... (Show more)
In Iceland, as elsewhere in Europe, women’s suffrage “challenged the gendered meaning of political citizenship” (Ida Blom, 2012). Linking together feminist theories of intersectionality, women´s agencies, and citizenship, this paper examines how socio-cultural categories like class, age, nationality, race/ethnicity, (dis)ability or health and marital status, affected women’s capacities to participate in politics, at the polling station as lawful voters, and as respectable candidates for parliamentary or municipal elections.

On the 19th of June 1915, when Icelandic women gained the right to vote and eligibility for parliament, the new women voters were faced with two intersecting categories which prevented them in fulfilling their full potential as citizens on equal standing to men. On one hand, women´s suffrage was severely limited by age, as the age limit set for women was 40, while it was 25 for (most) men. It should be noted though that in 1915, the suffrage was not only granted to Icelandic women for the first time, but also to male workers or farmhands, but the age limit for the disenfranchised men was 40 as well, so gender as well as economic and social position, served to severely diminish the numbers of new voters. The second and longer lasting intersectional hindrance, was socio-economic class. Economic status or poverty, thus continued to be a stumbling block, since receiving poor relief, resulted in the loss of the suffrage until 1934, but it was often the unfortunate result of sickness or disability, old age, or widowhood. (Show less)

Eirinn Larsen : “Secondary to the Economic Man”: Suffrage, Capital and Gender during the Long Nineteenth Century
During the breakthrough of modern democracy, economic respectability and competence were important requirements for the right to vote and stand for election. This made suffrage for long secondary to the economic man, to paraphrase T.H. Marshall (1950: 20), and male honor a vital part of the nineteenth century political man. ... (Show more)
During the breakthrough of modern democracy, economic respectability and competence were important requirements for the right to vote and stand for election. This made suffrage for long secondary to the economic man, to paraphrase T.H. Marshall (1950: 20), and male honor a vital part of the nineteenth century political man. Yet, as suffrage was extended to new and growing groups of taxpaying middle-class men, the vote was to depend even further on a man’s capacity to earn and control his capital. In Norway, the introduction of universal male suffrage in 1898 was followed by new suspensions rules to ensure that enfranchised men acted in harmony with key masculine requirements of economic autonomy and respectability vis-à-vis the state. Even during and after universal female suffrage passed in 1913, the suspension rules remained in place, enabling the authorities to separate the worthy citizens from the unworthy ones until economic self-reliance in 1919 was removed as condition for the suffrage in Norway – and regardless of gender.

My paper analyzes the relationship between suffrage, capital and gender in Norway further using honor as an analytical perspective. The key argument is that older and newer forms of male honor and respectability, associated with material wealth and landownership but also wage-earning, money-making and capital control informed what it meant to be a Norwegian political citizen during as well as after universal suffrage was introduced. A major reason for removing the suspension rules in 1919 also was the unintended consequences they had had for the many, poor women in need of public assistance to live and raise children. Thus, this paper sees masculine notions of honor both as a condition and a sanction for political participation in Norway during the long nineteenth century. This rests on an assumption that honor was an important norm in economic life in general, not least visible in the Norwegian law on bankruptcy of 1863. (Show less)

Leonora Lottrup Rasmussen : When the Provider no Longer Provides
In 1849, the first democratic constitution in Denmark granted political citizenship to all male citizens, who had an unblemished reputation, were over 30 years old, unless he was in private service, had received public poor relief or unable to manage his own estate. Although the constitution of 1849 did not ... (Show more)
In 1849, the first democratic constitution in Denmark granted political citizenship to all male citizens, who had an unblemished reputation, were over 30 years old, unless he was in private service, had received public poor relief or unable to manage his own estate. Although the constitution of 1849 did not make any demands with regards to financial income, political citizenship was however restricted to the male head of the household. With the revision of the constitution in 1915, women and servants were granted suffrage, while exclusions based on economic independence and the ability to support oneself were left unchanged. It was not until 1961, that Denmark abolished the restriction that excluded recipients of poor relief from formal political citizenship. This made Denmark the last country in Western Europe to exclude citizens from political citizenship on account of received poor relief. By focusing on the most persistent restrictions to suffrage, this paper examines the long process of inclusion in political citizenship for recipients of poor relief. Since the allocation of rights that was established with the constitution of 1849 placed ultimate authority in the male head of household, independence and the ability to support oneself was seen as a precondition for suffrage. As previous research has pointed out, political citizenship was not only male gendered, but also built around a particular form of masculine ideal. Hence, male citizens who were unable to provide for themselves and their family were placed at the bottom of the hierarchy. By analyzing the process of inclusion, I will argue that recipients of poor relief had to overcome the difficult task of proving that they still possessed the ability to provide, although they on paper were unable to do so. (Show less)

Fia Sundevall : “Money is the Name of Citizenship Rights”: Economic Restrictions on Universal Suffrage, Sweden 1921– 1945
The entangled history of money and suffrage is well-known. At the turn of the 20th century, property ownership, high income levels, and tax payments, constituted key criteria for political citizenship in many nations across Europe and elsewhere. The introduction of universal suffrage weakened this link, but did not do away ... (Show more)
The entangled history of money and suffrage is well-known. At the turn of the 20th century, property ownership, high income levels, and tax payments, constituted key criteria for political citizenship in many nations across Europe and elsewhere. The introduction of universal suffrage weakened this link, but did not do away with it. In several countries, various voting restrictions related to voter’s financial situation remained for decades.

This paper looks at the case of Sweden, where universal suffrage was introduced in 1921. Three types of economic restrictions however remained. Citizens who were declared bankrupt, or taken in for long-time institutional care by poor relief authorities, were disenfranchised from elections on all political levels until 1945. For local elections, this was also the case for people with unpaid tax liabilities. By empirically examining how such restrictions were legitimized, practiced, challenged and later repealed, this paper displays how political, social and economic citizenship rights were intertwined and conflicted during the early development of the Swedish welfare state. (Show less)



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