chapter  15
14 Pages

‘We Had a Row on the Politics of the Day’

Gender and Political Sociability of the Elites in Stockholm, c. 1770–1800
WithMy Hellsing

This chapter explores spaces for political engagement in late eighteenth-century Sweden, demonstrating the opportunities and boundaries that different urban spaces played for the making of political community. It pioneers an exploration of gender and political sociability in Stockholm in the late eighteenth century. Via eyewitness accounts from travel literature, diaries and correspondence, the chapter investigates the main urban leisure venues of the political classes: public gardens, theatres, assembly rooms, domestic sociability and clubs. It analyses the nature of sociability performed at the different venues in order to discern their political potential. The chapter also focuses on urban sociability of court members, aristocrats, foreign diplomats and wealthy travellers in Stockholm. From the mid-eighteenth century and for the next 100 years, Stockholm went through a period of high mortality, poverty and demographic slowdown. Stockholm of the late eighteenth century was, nevertheless, a society with strict social boundaries. Trade and political debate took place within ancient guilds and corporations until the mid-nineteenth century.