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Ceremoniernas makt: Maktöverföring och genus i Vasatidens kungliga ceremonier
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The power of ceremonies : Power and gender in the royal ceremonies of the Vasa era (English)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation studies the royal ceremonies of the Vasa era in Sweden. The ceremonies connected with two Swedish monarchs – Erik XIV and Queen Kristina – is examined. From the sixteenth century I study Gustav Vasa’s funeral 1560, Erik XIV’s coronation 1561, Erik’s deposition 1568/69 and his brother Johan’s coronation 1569. From the seventeenth century the funeral of Gustav II Adolf 1634, Kristina’s coronation 1650, her abdication 1654 and Karl X Gustav’s coronation the same day is examined. Through the ceremonies Erik XIV and Kristina acquired power, manifested their possession of power, and finally lost it to a successor.

The royal ceremonies are viewed as rites of passage from the perspective of the anthropologist Arnold van Gennep. I also see them as ritual interaction as the sociologist Randall Collins. The studied ceremonies were performed in a ritual interaction, in which both the monarch and representative groups of men took part. Both the leading character in the ritual and the royal office underwent a transition. The former by going from being, for example, a prince to becoming king and the latter through being transferred from one person to another. I have combined the ritual theories with gender theory. In the royal ceremonies of the Vasa period ideas about gender were prominent. Gender-determined ideas were significant in the design of the rituals and in the royal transfer of power.

Ideas about gender served as a foundation for the ritual’s representation of order: for the power of the ruler, for the hierarchical order of groups of men, and for power relations between men and women. Normative masculinity, deviant masculinity, and femininity established either legitimacy or illegitimacy for the rulers. The masculine roles that the rituals presented were the role of warrior, the role of head of the household, the role of husband and father, and the role of protector of religion. These were emphasized in different ways, depending on the practical circumstances. When the rituals deprived the ruler of power – as with Erik XIV and Queen Kristina – ideas of unmanliness and femininity were used instead of masculinity.

The rituals also created legitimacy for the changes that took place in the process of state formation. In the military sphere the rituals emphasized the ruler’s role as a warrior when Sweden was profiling itself against other contries or was at war. Territorial changes and claims were visualized through the ceremonial processions. In the organizational field the ceremonies had a more direct influence on the state formation. The study show that the diet played a major role in the legitimacy created by the ceremonies, since that was where the discussions about the power relations, visualized in the rituals, took place.

The Vasa period was both av time of frequent power transfers and a period of state formation and efforts to achieve stability. This has justified the study of the power transfer in its royal ceremonies. In such circumstances the ceremonies became particularly important in the legitimation of the possession and transfer of power.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nordic Academic Press , 2005. , 334 p.
Keyword [en]
Early modern history, the Vasa period, royal ceremonies, coronations, royal funerals, ritual, rites of passage, ritual interaction, gender, masculinity, femininity, unmanliness, state formation, power legitimation, invented tradition, Gustav Vasa, Erik XIV, Johan III, Gustav II Adolf, Queen Kristina, Karl X Gustav
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-359ISBN: 91-89116-73-9OAI: diva2:192921
Public defence
2005-03-18, hörsal 9, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2005-02-18 Created: 2005-02-18Bibliographically approved

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