Feminine and masculine in the images of power. A study of the changes in visual political symbolism inSweden ca. 1350-1600
Berglund, Louise, PhD (Örebro University Sweden)
Paper presented at the international conference: Creating women: Notions of femininity from 1350 to 1700, Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, Victoria College, University of Toronto, 11-12 November, (2005)
It is now generally acknowledged that notions of gender are continually shaped and redefined over time. One factor that may shape the notions of gender is the political needs of the elites at a particular point in time. In my analysis I propose to analyse this change in connection to two historical processes: the first being the intensification of the use of female authorities and female imagery in political and religious communication during the later Middle Ages (from c. 1350), the second being the development of these factors during the reformation in the 16th century which coincided with the creation of an early modern military state.
The study is concerned with conditions in late medieval and early modern Sweden. The kingdom of Sweden (which during this period also included Finland) presents a few distinct characteristics during this period which makes it somewhat different from the continental European norm. A relatively large proportion of Swedish peasants were free landowners which made them a political force to be reckoned with.