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Welfare and Social Capital in Linköping, 1600–1620

Author(s): Annika Sandén

Journal: Hygiea Internationalis: an interdisciplinary journal for the history of public health
ISSN 1404-4013

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 49;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Local government | secular | religious | social capital | formal instituttions

This article deals with early seventeenth century local government, both the secular and religious, in order to present the concepts of ”the good society”, and the strategies that were used to achieve and retain this ideal. Most people were excluded from the ranks of decision-makers and had little or no possibility to influence the decisions that were made concerning their interests, such as the unwed mothers, hired hands and female servants. Still, those in society with a presumed low social capital also clearly valued the rituals of the town council and the church, and used the formal institutions to improve their conditions. The conclusion can thus be drawn that there was great confidence in the formal institutions and that they were used by more than those who belonged to the upper social strata. The local Swedish government of the town Linköping provided public resources which were beneficial to common people. This article illustrates how this functioned in practice.

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