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Historisk tidskrift 134:1 • 2014

Innehåll (Contents) 2014:1

Uppsatser (Articles)

”Spanska” citroner till salu. Om kvinnors handlingsutrymme på fruktmarknaden i 1700-talets Stockholm

Erik Lindberg & Sofia Ling

Fulltext (pdf)


”Spanish” lemons for sale: Women’s agency on the fruit market in eighteenth-century Stockholm.

Several historical studies have assumed that increased economic opportunities for some women were beneficial to all women. An investigation of the trade in lemons in eighteenth-century Stockholm qualifies that conclusion. Lemons were expensive luxury goods but despite this there were some female street vendors who were active as wholesale lemon traders. The street sellers’ permits were supposed to be issued to poor deserving women to provide them with the means to support themselves, not to wholesale traders. Some women even delivered large quantities of lemons to the Swedish Royal Court. This finding qualifies the view that women in early modern Europe were delegated to economic niches on the margin. Agency on the lemon market did not undermine the male dominated guild economy as is sometimes assumed. On the contrary, the female lemon traders acted in ways similar to the male traders who were guild members. Female lemon traders used the same kind of formal channels, such as the local court, to petition and protect their trading rights and limit competition from others. Furthermore, they acted independently from their household position and did not cooperate with their spouses, something that seems to have been common also on the Dutch fruit market during the same period. The female lemon traders acted collectively within temporary networks and petitioned in order to protect their own rights and to circumscribe other street vending women’s rights. Women’s agency as expressed in this study reinforced an economic order based on special interests and guilds.


Sweden, 18th century, agency, lemon trade, street sellers, Stockholm, gender, work