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Kor och människor


  • Israelsson, Carin


As the urbanisation of Sweden increased during the second half of the 19th century, the dairy market and cattle husbandry developed. The animals were better fed and housed, and the number of cows, mean milk yields and cash income rose. Did the Swedish cattle husbandry as a whole had the prerequisites to be part of this process, or were some herds excluded? For the investigation, herd sizes and cattle owners in two hundreds were examined. Moreover, the detailed cattle husbandry in practice was studied. A polarising method was used, as well as sources from varying disciplines. A widespread small-scale cattle husbandry was highlighted. Herds with one or two cows dominated, owned by people belonging to the lower socio-economic layers. It was also demonstrated that small herds were deliberately hidden, registered within herds at large farms and estates. The small herds represented an evident self-subsistence system, characterised by material shortages, which in the study was polarised versus a market-oriented system that was based on better conditions. Studies of the detailed cattle husbandry in practice revealed harsh malnutrition among cattle in the self subsistence-system. Consequently, feeding was a decisive factor, which prevented many herds from market production. Notwithstanding extensive differences between the two systems, similarities were also found, chiefly regarding hard, time-consuming work and a general female responsibility for the care of the animals. In the thesis, the parallel occurrence of two systems for cattle husbandry in the local Swedish countryside during the period 1850-1914 is stressed. The self subsistence system offered the lower socioeconomic layers a straw to cling to in times of societal changes while the market oriented system was a springboard for development of individual farms and estates, as well as for the Swedish economy in a wider perspective.

Suggested Citation

  • Israelsson, Carin, 2005. "Kor och människor," Department of Economics publications 941, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sua:ekonwp:941

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