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Auðmagn sem erfist og kynslóðir vesturfarakvenna: athafnasemi og þverþjóðleiki.

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Hér er skoðuð saga tveggja seyðfirskra kvenna, Pálínu S. Guðmundsdóttur Waage (1864–1935) og dótturdóttur hennar, Pálínu Kr. Þorbjörnsdóttur Waage (1926–2005). Til grundvallar liggja persónulegar heimildir frá hendi þeirra beggja. Pálína eldri og yngri voru báðar athafnakonur á Seyðisfirði í áratugi þar sem þær ráku verslun E.J. Waage. Báðar hlutu einnig meiri menntun en gerðist og gekk um konur og báðar fluttust til Ameríku, reyndar með nærri sex áratuga millibili. Hér er saga þeirra skoðuð í samhengi við hugtakið athafnasemi eins og það hefur verið notað í íslensku máli. Sýnt er fram á að merking hugtaksins er kynjuð og það hefur mjög karllega slagsíðu. Þá er saga þeirra einnig skoðuð út frá kenningu franska félagsfræðingsins Pierre Bourdieu um auðmagn. Pálína eldri hafði til að bera óvenjulega sterka gerendahæfni og er því haldið fram að hún hafi öðlast „athafnaauðmagn“ í staðbundnu umhverfi sínu. Með öðrum orðum að umhverfi hennar hafi viðurkennt hana sem athafnasaman geranda. Enn fremur eru leiddar líkur að því að þetta hafi að einhverju leyti erfst til dótturdóttur hennar. Um leið er þó ljóst að báðar eru þessar konur algerlega óþekktar á landsvísu. Gefur það tilefni til að spyrja hvort þær séu í raun hluti stærri hóps athafnasamra kvenlegra gerenda sem ekki séu sýnilegar í þjóðarsögunni?
Capital Inherited Between Generations of Emigrating Women: Entrepreneurship and transnationalism This article examines personal sources written by two women from East Iceland, Pálína S. Guðmundsdóttir Waage (1864-1935) and her granddaughter Pálína Kr. Þorbjörnsdóttir Waage (1926-2005). They each operated as a merchant in the town of Seyðisfjörður and, in comparison to most of their female contemporaries, enjoyed a better education. Each of them also travelled to North America for a stay of around two years, with the older Pálína going during the late 19th-century Icelandic emigration and the younger one in the aftermath of World War II. The present analysis spotlights two groups of women who have largely been invisible in Icelandic historiography: female emigrants to North America and female entrepreneurs. The extant writings of the two women, Pálína the older and Pálína the younger, are examined here concerning entrepreneurship, as well as Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of capital and of the concept of transnationalism. The main theory proposed by the article is that Pálína the older, who was characterised by unusually strong agency, acquired symbolic capital as an entrepreneur in her local East Iceland surroundings, while Pálína the younger seems to some extent to have inherited her predecessor‘s entrepreneurial capital. Neither of these female entrepreneurial agents, however, ever received nationwide recognition. An examination of entrepreneurship and related concepts, as they have been used in Icelandic (entrepreneurship = athafnasemi), reveals that they are highly gendered. Entrepreneurship is thereby associated not only with masculinity, but also with nationalism, advantageous family relations and social capital. While entrepreneurship basically refers to activities in trade and commerce, the term connects such commercial activities to a variety of further undertakings. The inferences of female entrepreneurship, on the other hand, are generally restricted to traditional female spheres such as the family and women’s organisations. The personal source materials left by the two women reveal that the older Pálína’s entrepreneurial activities surpass the female implications of the concept. She was in fact recognised in the Seyðisfjörður vicinity as an entrepreneurial agent, a recognition which seems to have applied to her granddaughter as well. In Icelandic national history, however, both these women have remained entirely unknown and have never acquired any nationwide recognition. This raises the question of whether these women belong to a significantly larger group of female entrepreneurial agents who continue to lack recognition in Icelandic historiography.