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Domestic Servants in urban areas in the Kingdom of Saxony (1806 - 1918)

Two Domestic Servants in Dresden-Blasewitz

Research: Dörthe Schimke 

In the cities of the late 18th, and especially of the 19th century – the “century of the maid servant” (Jürgen Kocka) –, domestic servants were inseparably linked to the expanding bourgeois life style. Significant developments in economy and society were reflected by the (extremely diverse) occupational category of ‘servants’. Like for other regions, this is also basically true for the Kingdom of Saxony that was characterized by industrialization and urbanization. While relevant studies on Saxon urban servants are still missing, this dissertation project undertakes to close this social historical gap within the regional history. The focus of the research lies, next to the legal foundations in the form of servants’ laws, on the normative values and public perceptions on domestic servants in an urban context. Furthermore, perspectives on life world and working environment of servants in Saxon cities like Dresden, Leipzig, or Bautzen will be opened. Therefore conflict areas between masters and servants as well as the continuously changing job market will be analyzed. The quantitative as well as qualitative study focuses on the seemingly “invisible” group of persons that was nevertheless indispensable in an urban bourgeois context in the 19th century.