“Public pleasure culture in the port city of Gothenburg, 1860-1930s” by Christina Reimann

Between the 1860s and 1930s, the peripheral port town Gothenburg was catapulted into industrial modernity. Public pleasures functioned as vector of spatial transformation and urban self-understanding, and as crystalizing point for urban (counter-) narratives. In this context, Christina Reimann’s research is structured along three analytical angles and key questions: 

The black and white drawing shows a four-storey hotel building with the inscription "Hotel Garni". On the ground floor there is a café advertised as "Cafe du commerce - Restauration" and "absoluta nykterhetscaféet Liljan". Scattered people and a horse-drawn carriage can be seen in front of the building.
Skeppsbroplatsen 1: Hotel Garni, varitékrogen Café du Commerce och absoluta nykterhetscaféet Liljan, late 19th century, GhmD. Göteborgs Historiska Museums bildsamling, copyrights: Göteborgs Stadsmuseum.

1. Pleasure institutions and the (re)-making of inner city borders (1860-1923)

How were borders, particularly those between “port districts” and the “city centre,” constructed, maintained and given meaning through institutions of pleasure, and how did these borders in turn shape the urban pleasure culture?

2. Deviant pleasure practices as counter narratives (1880s-1920s) 

Deviant practices of pleasure by social and ethnic minorities are seen as counter-narratives to the contemporary modernity discourse dominated by disciplined popular pleasures and the liberal spirit of some bourgeois pleasures. 

3. Exoticizing and ‘folklig’ performances on Gothenburg’s scenes (1880s-1930s)

The entanglement and tensions between “the exotic” and “the folksy” in public entertainment are investigated, tracing the transformation of their relationship in the context of the emerging industrial welfare city.

Photography, view into a straight street. On the right edge of the picture are two men and two children, on the left side of the road is a horse-drawn vehicle. On both sides of the streets are shops with signs, the sign in the front left advertises in Swedish a "Room for Travellers" by "J. B. Lundberg". The street looks very busy in the background.
Sillgatan, GMA:14389. Fotosamling, fotografi, bilder, copyrights: Göteborgs Stadsmuseum.
You can see a large fairground at night. There are many people on the square, standing or walking together in small groups. There is a fountain in the middle. On the left is a building with an outdoor terrace, on the right are very tall and narrow columns with torches at the top. At the head of the square is a small high-rise building with long vertical rows of windows and an outbuilding with a dome. In the background, a lighthouse shines on a mountain.
Jubileumsutställningen i Göteborg 1923 / The main esplanade of the Gothenburg Jubilee exposition. Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, public domain.