Organisation and staff

Orsi Husz

senior lecturer at Department of Economic History

+4618-471 5753
Visiting address:
Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsg. 10
Postal address:
Box 513
751 20 UPPSALA

Also available at

My courses


Present position

Associate Senior Lecturer

Research Interests

I have long been interested in the different ways people historically have used to relate economic value and ideal (emotional, cultural, moral etc) values. How they balance between them, convert them into each other or combine them in discourse, norms and practice. Empirically I have studied a range of different topics relating to the consumer culture of twentieth century Sweden: department stores, lottery playing, views on money, different debates on mass consumerism and consumer politics. I have also worked with overviews of modern consumerism with a focus on Sweden. Recently I studied the consumer debates of the 1960s and the new consumer politics of the 1970s. Other important analytical notions besides value/values were: gender, class, democratic and mass culture, consumer dreams, emotions and materiality.

My main current research project is about the shifting cultural values of money within middle class groups during the 20th century. I study advice literature in home economics and capital management as well as advertising and information material from banks and insurance companies. I am also interested in the historically changing definitions and discussions of middle class identity and in the importance that money and the private economic situation are attributed in these definitions and perceptions.

Another project analyses the history of correspondence schools in Sweden. My main focus here is how the value of education and knowledge has been created and communicated by leading education companies since the 1890s and how this fit into the (changing) norms and ideals of the Swedish society. This research is carried out in co-operation with Håkan Forsell, Örebro University.

Theoretically, my research projects are closely related to the field of cultural economy.

Key words: Consumer culture; cultural economy; cultural history; history of education; gender; middle classes; 20th century cultural history; morality; money; value and values.

Academic Degrees

2005 PhD in history, Stockholm University, Sweden

1993 MA, Eötvös Lorand University (ELTE) Budapest, Hungary

Academic Positions

2009 – Associate Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Economic history, Uppsala University (starting with a 4 year research fellowship)

2007- 2009 Assistant Professor ("forskarassistent", 4 year research fellowship), Department of History Stockholm University

2005-2007 Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Dept. of History, Stockholm University, funded by Wallander-Hedelius Research Foundation, Handelsbanken, Sweden

2000-2001 Visiting scholar/doctoral student at University Collage London, Material Culture Study Group led by Prof Daniel Miller

1998-2004 Doctoral student position funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)

Teaching experiences

Undergraduate courses in history, economic history and ethnology

Graduate courses (master) in history and fashion studies

Supervising bachelor and master students

Courses in applied theory and in qualitative methods, PhD level

Supervision of PhD-students since 2007 (I am currently supervising 5 students)

Responsible for the PhD-seminars in modern history at the Dept. of History, Stockholm 2008-2009

Ongoing Research Projects

Money: Cultural economy and the Swedish middle class 1900-1970

The market of self-realisation: Modernity, economy, gender and media in correspondence-education 1898-1970 (in cooperation with Håkan Forsell)

Consumer culture and consumer politics in twentieth century Sweden


2005 The Clio Prize ("For an excellent younger historian within the Swedish language area", a prize established by the daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet and Clio – The book club for history (jointly owned by several publishing houses).

2005 The Stockholm Society for Higher Education (Högskoleföreningen) prize for "distinguished scientific achievement within the framework for doctoral thesis at the Faculty of Humanities at Stockholm University".

Selected Publications

Books and book chapters
"Department Stores" (entry in The Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture, CQ Press forthcoming)

"Spara, Slösa och alla de andra. Konsumenter och konsumtion i Sverige under 1900-talet" Signums Svenska Kulturhistoria (Signum/Atlantis: Stockholm 2009)

"Den rätta känslan för tingen. Debatten om köp-slit-och-släng i Sverige 1960-61 i en historisk kontext", Modevetenskap– en introduktion (Raster Förlag: Stockholm 2009)

Drömmars värde. Varuhus och lotteri i svensk konsumtionskultur 1897-1939. Gidlunds förlag: Hedemora 2004. (The value of dreams: Department store and lottery in Swedish consumer culture 1897-1939 – doctoral thesis)

"Konsumtionens motsägelser. En inledning." (med Amanda Lagerkvist) i Förbjudna njutningar: spår av konsumtionskulturens historia i Sverige, red. av Johan Söderberg och Peder Aléx, Podium: Stockholm 2001

"Ett nytt sätt att handla. Konsumtionskultur i det tidiga 1900-talets varuhus" i Förbjudna njutningar: spår av konsumtionskulturens historia i Sverige, red. av Johan Söderberg och Peder Aléx, Podium: Stockholm 2001

Articles in Journals
Husz O. The morality of quality. Perceptions of mass culture and consumption in 20th century Sweden. Journal of Modern European History (forthcoming)

"Drömmar och kompetens. Kvinnor och det tidiga 1900-talets varuhus", Kvinnovetenskapligt Tidskrift 4/1999 ("Dreams and competence. Women and the early 20th sentury Department Stores")

"Private dreams and public expectations. Lotteries and dilemmas of progress and social welfare in early 20th-century Sweden", Journal of Consumer Culture 1/2002

"Privatekonomin och den borgerliga medelklassens identitetskris 1920-1970", Fronesis nr 24, 2007 ("The private economy and the identity crisis of the bourgeois middle class")

"Klass, människovärde och pengar", Arbetarhistoria 3-4/2008 ("Class, human worth and money")

"Collapse of a bourgeoisie? The Wealthy in Stockholm 1915-1965" (co-authored with Johan Söderberg and Martin Gustavsson), Scandinavian Economic History Review 1/2009

Research grants (selection)

1997 Ridderstad stiftelse för historisk grafisk forskning (Ridderstad foundation)

1998 Sparbankernas Forskningsstiftelse (The Research Foundation of the Saving Banks)

1999 Swedish Research Council

2000 STINT (Stiftelsen för internationalisering av högre utbildning och forskning/The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education)

2002 Wallander-Hedelius Stiftelse, Handelsbankens forskningsstiftelser (Wallander-Hedelius Foundation, Handelsbanken)

2006 Swedish Research Council

Professional affiliations

Board of The Museum of Work, Norrköping, 2009-

Scandia. Journal of Historical Research: Advisory Board 2006-

Board of The Museums of The Royal Armoury, Skokloster Castle and The Hallwyl Museum 2006-2008

Referee for Journal of Consumer Culture 2004-


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