This is written in the English Wikipedia article for "Madicken": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madicken

Du är inte klok Madicken is about a 7-year-old middle class girl, during World War I.

Is this really accurate? I've just rewatched both movies and she seems like pretty clear-cut upper-class to me.

I'm not sure if the article was written by a non-Swede, thus having a very different idea of what "middle class" means, or if this is due to this being set in Sweden during the first world war, when maybe "middle class" meant something different.

To me, they seem like a very rich family. They live in a big house, have a live-in maid, a different lady from the lower class comes over regularly to clean and do laundry, both the wife and husband are very "proper", the husband runs the local newspaper and has a respected position in the town, they are seen buying a new invention (vacuum cleaner), attending fancy parties with the elite, etc. This doesn't sound like "middle class" to me.

In contrast, they have friends nearby who live in basically a little hut, who I would really consider "lower class" or "poor". I have trouble thinking of anyone who is in between these two extremes in that town, at least whose home we get to see in the movies.

Was "upper class" reserved for the ultra-rich and royalty or something? Maybe they are "upper middle class", then?

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    From an English perspective, the upper classes were the aristocracy and the landed gentry. Anyone making their money from business, such as running a newspaper, was middle class (no matter how rich and powerful they were). Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 7:08
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    The estates based riksdagen was replaced with the two-houses riksdag in 1866. IN the estates based one her father could have been a member of the burgher estate, NOT the nobility (there the members was the heads of the noble families.) The nobility estate was reserved for them. With the two-house estate her father had voting rights in the elections for the lower house and the upper house. Middle-class in Sweden at that time = not nobility and employed/having his own business to run. Successful = higher standing in the middle class. Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 10:21
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    Most priests was a member of the middle class (some of them was from the nobility) or if rich they could be counted to the upper class either due to being bishop/or being the vicar in a cathedral congregation. Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 10:26

1 Answer 1


Until 1866 there were four lines of division in Sweden, with representation in the parliament (riksdagen) peasants, clergy, burghers and nobility (see Wikipedia: Riksdag of the Estates). Of course the main population did not belong to the upper classes, they were helping hands at farms for example or factory workers. I would say that clergy and burghers are middle class even after the two chamber parliament started which was in effect until 1971. Someone owning a newspaper would be a burgher then.

  • If the structure of the parliament and its basis in medieval estates tells us anything about the actual socioeconomic class structure in the early twentieth century, I'm not seeing it
    – Brian Z
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 17:51
  • This structure of parliament was used until 1866 and the question was about maybe 1920 that is why I thought it could be a relevant parallell. Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 7:31

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