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Að klæða af sér sveitamennskuna og þorparasvipinn: hreyfanleiki og átök menningar í Reykjavík 1890-1920.

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Tímabilið 1890–1900 einkenndist af umtalsverðum hnattrænum hreyfanleika, til að mynda fluttist árlega tæp milljón manns frá Evrópu til Norður-Ameríku á fyrsta áratug tuttugustu aldar. Þótt Ísland væri á jaðri þessa flæðis lét hreyfanleiki tímabilsins landið ekki ósnert, sérstaklega ekki höfuðborgina Reykjavík sem margfaldaðist að íbúafjölda á áratugunum í kringum aldamótin 1900. Markmið greinarinnar er tvíþætt, annars vegar að varpa ljósi á skörun ólíkra og misumfangsmikilla fólksflutningsstrauma í bænum og hins vegar að sýna fram á að Reykjavík þjónaði sem snertiflötur (e. contact zone) mismunandi flæðis hugmynda, varnings og fólks sem hafði mótandi áhrif á bæjarsamfélagið. Sagt er frá frönskum sjómönnum, dönskum kaupmönnum, prússneskum frúm, norskum trúboðum og íslenskum hjúum sem fluttu á mölina. Kynjaðar víddir hreyfanleikans fá sérstaka athygli. Leitt er í ljós hvernig miðlun heldri kvenna á borgaralegum lifnaðarháttum (klæðnaði, húsbúnaði, siðum og tungutaki) til Íslands var valdatæki sem þjónaði meðal annars þeim tilgangi að skapa fjarlægð milli hinnar ráðandi stéttar og annarra bæjarbúa. Þar skipti höfuðmáli að konurnar tilheyrðu þverþjóðlegum rýmum sem gengu þvert á landamæri þjóðríkja og tengdu Ísland við Danmörku og fleiri lönd. Þessi rými veittu þeim nauðsynlegan aðgang að „framandi“ vöru sem reyndust handhæg aðgreiningartæki því þeirri vöru höfðu aðrar stéttir, sér í lagi lægri stétt bæjarins, engan aðgang að. Greinin dregur því ekki aðeins fram hvernig Reykjavík tengdist inn í fólksflutninga tímabilsins 1880–1920 heldur sýnir einnig fram á að hreyfanleikinn sem þá einkenndi Atlantshafið hafði mótandi áhrif á einn grundvallarþátt reykvísks samfélags, nánar tiltekið stéttaskiptingu þess.
Masking the Provinciality: Mobility and cultural conflicts in Reykjavik 1890–1920 This article examines how the international mobility of the period 1890–1920 manifested itself in Iceland, a small community at the edge of the mass migration movements in North Atlantic countries. The ways in which different but connected streams of people intertwined and formed contact zones in the local community of Reykjavik are discussed. The different mobilities of various social groups are examined with an emphasis on people traditionally considered Icelandic, at least in part. That is to say, the internal migration of rural residents to the city and the mobility of the Reykjavik dominant class across transnational social spaces that crossed national borders. The goal is to show how these contact zones and the mobility within and outside them had a formative influence on the local society. The different relationship of these groups to the concept of otherness is therefore also discussed, i.e. the different ways and circumstances in which they were viewed as “the other”. In order to form a clearer picture of how the definitions and conflicts between different social groups shaped the local community, the traditions, habits, clothing and language of the Reykjavik dominant class is examined with reference to Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of how the dominant class distinguishes itself from other social classes on the basis of refined taste. The conclusion is that bourgeois consumer products were disseminated through the transnational social spaces that were the products of the mobility that characterised the late 19th and early 20th century. The purpose of this import was not least to confirm and maintain the social status of the dominant class over Reykjavik residents who did not have a comparable social status. Attempts by women of the Reykjavik dominant class to acquire the “proper” furnishings for their living rooms and “modern” clothing were therefore logical strategies to maintain their elevated social status. These were also important means of power in a society that doubled in size every decade owing to people of the lower class migrating from rural areas to the city. This article illustrates how the great mobility that characterised Atlantic countries in 1890–1920 did not leave Iceland unaffected and how Reykjavik was linked to various migrant streams during the period. The ways in which these different flows of people intertwined to form contact zones between different cultures in Reykjavik are discussed, with special focus on examining the effects of mobility, transnationalism and otherness on the city’s power structures. The results indicate that in 1890–1920, Reykjavik was an entangled space on the borderline between different migration flows. In such a space, nationality, class and gender intertwined to form an integrated local culture in Reykjavík that led to intricate power dynamics, resulting in a blurring of the lines between different cultures, nationalities, classes, “us” and “the other”.