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Statstjänare och jordägare: Adelsideologi i Per Brahe den äldres "Oeconomia"
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
2008 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Civil servant and Landowner : Aristocratic Ideology in the 'Oeconomia' of Per Brahe Sr (English)
Abstract [en]

The starting point of this investigation into the Oeconomia eller Hushållsbok för ungt adelsfolk (“Householding book for young noblemen”) of Per Brahe (1520–1590) is that the 16th century was a time of change for the Swedish nobility. As the noble estate’s societal function changed – due to the successive development and establishment of the Vasa-dynasty state – new social roles emerged. Thereby the new roles acquired an ideological significance for the people intended to play them. This is the background against which Per Brahe’s decision to write the Oeconomia should be seen. When writing it in the 1580s, he had retired from public life. In the book he sums up his experiences as a nobleman over a lifetime characterised by civil service and landownership, and offers advice and instruction on the nobility’s way of life.

I have reached results that allow us to speak of ideology in the Oeconomia and of clear-cut social roles tied to the aristocratic life project. Ideology emerges as a cohesive system of values and attitudes around a core social norm. This norm is expressed as an ideal of service that should be evident in people’s everyday life. A central idea is that all people serve their fellows and the whole of which they are part, the common good, and by extension, God. The ideal of service rests on a Christian foundation: every person is subject to God and the divine world order.

This norm organises the other parts of the ideology, as the ideal of service forms the basis of recommendations for action (advice and instructions) and for how Per Brahe values society and humankind. The author offers a vision of a serving aristocracy with various social roles which is able, thanks to its resources, to assert itself as true nobility in relation to competing groups. This however leads to certain problems. Service at the royal court as means of subsistence is a source of great uncertainty. A nobleman must care for his own house and not neglect himself.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dialogos Förlag , 2008. , 304 p.
Keyword [en]
Early modern history, nobility, aristocracy, ideology, social roles, Per Brahe, Oeconomia
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7277ISBN: 978-91-7504-204-6OAI: diva2:197964
Public defence
2008-02-08, hörsal 10, hus E, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2008-01-17 Created: 2008-01-03Bibliographically approved

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