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„Hún var með eldrauðar neglur og varir, en að öðru leyti ekkert athugaverð í útliti“: skjalasafn Ungmennaeftirlitsins og ímynd ástandsstúlkunnar.

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Þegar innsigli voru rofin á skjölum forstöðukonu Ungmennaeftirlits lögreglunnar, Jóhönnu Knudsen, árið 2012, komu gögn Ungmennaeftirlitsins í ljós.1 Þessi gögn, sem innihalda meðal annars rannsóknargögn, uppskriftir úr yfirheyrslum og dómsúrskurði, veita nákvæma innsýn í vinnubrögð lögreglunnar og þá hugmyndafræði sem lá að baki eftirlitinu og dómum. Efni skjalanna varpar nýju ljósi á ýmsa þætti ástandsins sem áður voru á huldu og gefur tilefni til endurskoðunar á þessum kafla Íslandssögunnar. Í þessari grein er kafað ofan í gögn Ungmennaeftirlits lögreglunnar og Ungmennadómstóls. Saman mynda þessi gögn heild sem veitir nýja sýn á aðgerðir yfirvalda til að sporna við „ástandinu“ og á samspil fjölmiðla, yfirvalda og þrýstihópa sem komu með mismunandi hætti að því að búa til þjóðarógn úr samböndum íslenskra kvenna og erlendra hermanna. Allt þróaðist þetta yfir í kerfisbundið ofbeldi með umdeildri lagasetningu. Í greininni verða ástandsárin á Íslandi skoðuð út frá kenningum um siðfár (e. moral panic) sem ekki hafa áður verið notaðar í íslenskri sagnfræði. kenningar um siðfár henta vel til að greina ástandið því með þeim er leitast við að skoða atburðarásina sem menningarlega heild eða ferli, sem samanstendur af samspili ólíkra þátta, í stað þess að persónugera kringumstæðurnar og smætta niður í tiltekna einstaklinga eða stofnanir.
Youth Surveillance Agency Records and the Image of the „Circumstances“ Girl During World War II, Iceland was occupied by the British and later the American military. In order to prevent or control relationships between young Icelandic women and the foreign troops, a Juvenile Court and, under the police, a youth Surveillance Agency were established. The social tension created by relationships with members of the foreign troops was referred to as the „Circumstances“ (ástand). More recently, in 2012, the seals were broken on documents that had been preserved from the youth Surveillance Agency and its director, Jóhanna Knudsen. These records, for instance of investigations, interrogations and court orders, now provide more specific insights into the ideology and operating procedures of these official bodies. Taking advantage of this newly available information to illustrate how the authorities dealt with the Circumstances, this article also observes that the media, authorities and pressure groups interacted in various ways to cause relations between Icelandic women and foreign troops to be perceived as a national threat. Hitherto, the moral panic concept of the British sociologist Stanley Cohen, though having earlier proved useful to sociologists and criminologists, has not been applied to Icelandic historical studies. The term moral panic is useful for analysing and explaining the process occurring when notions of threat possess people, due to the deviant behaviour of some particular group, and continue to increase until measures are taken. When the concept is ap-plied here to cast light on the period of the Circumstances, it proves highly suitable for such analysis, since moral panic theories, instead of personifying the situation and segmenting it into specific individuals or public bodies, help by examining developing events as a cultural whole, or as a process in which different factors work together. The call for improved behaviour among young Reykjavík women arose in the media already on the first day of military occupation, 10 May 1940. The article observes how this call gained momentum, with the capital city police undertaking moral investigations based on clichés about undesirable femininity. Such investigations provided — more or less by spying — supposed facts about the extent of the problem. Upon being considered by national authorities and officials, this information led to the much-debated youth Surveillance Act, which entered into force in 1942 and permitted heavy-handed intervention in the lives of women — intervention that must be seen as systematic violence dependent on gender and class.