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Manlighetens bortre gräns: Tidelagsrättegångar i Livland åren 1685-1709
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
2011 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Outer Border of Masculinity : Trials for Bestiality in Livonia, 1685-1709 (English)
Abstract [en]

There were many ways of bordering manliness during the historical period covered by my research. Borders have been metaphorically understood as those invisible, often non-enunciated limits that have safeguarded manliness. There were borders separating masculinity from femininity and from childishnes, but there is also a more distant border, separating masculinity from the bestial. The term un-manliness is a useful concept for this analysis, for it can be used to illuminate the different ways in which masculinity has been interrogated. The concept can also be used in comparative analyses of how tolerance towards men deviating from ideas of ideal masculinity has differed according to situation and culture. It has been my ambition to elucidate the particular attitudes, values, customs, knowledge and requirements that influenced the view of masculinity at both individual and the group level. The clearest-cut aspects of manliness and un-manliness expressed in court proceedings were those having to do with sexuality, relations within the household, and the subordinate and dominant masculinities displayed by different court-room actors. The latter, in turn, reflected contemporary social structures, including the social gap that divided the Livonian peasantry’s serfs or former serfs from the ruling Baltic-German elite. Records from the court proceedings have shown the subordinate masculinity of the defendants, subordinate not only to that of the officers of the court but to that of the witnesses. This subordination was an inevitable consequence of the nature of the accusations, regardless of whether they were deemed well-founded or false.  The defendants were placed in a situation where they were forced constantly to be on the alert, ready to defend themselves and show their best sides. As a result, they would often give extremely clear expression to their views of proper masculinity. Such actors stressed, consciously or unconsciously, certain manly traits and behaviour patterns that characterised themselves and others. Their arguments provide insights into what they thought of each other and how they conceived a man should generally be, behave and act in different situations. By the same token, they clearly showed what kinds of behaviours were considered undesirable or outright unmanly. The positioning of the borders of manliness was linked both to time and to space. Deviations have helped different societies set the borders for what they considered acceptable behaviour. There was a clear cultural and geographical border between Sweden as such, and the Swedish province Livonia. This emerges clearly when one compares Livonian results with earlier studies on bestiality in Sweden. This shows that the view of manliness and the tolerance towards certain kinds of behaviour changed as one moved East.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2011. , 174 p.
Stockholm studies in history, ISSN 0491-0842 ; 94
, Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 55
Keyword [en]
Early-modern Bestiality Sodomy Masculinity Manliness Unmanliness Male Livonia Swedish Empire, Court, Law, 17th century, 18th century
Keyword [sv]
tidelag, manlighet, maskulinitet, genus, rättegång, brott, straff, tidigmodern tid, Livland, Stormaktstiden, 1600-talet, 1700-talet, livegenskap
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-56419ISBN: 978-91-86071-67-7ISBN: 978-91-86069-28-5OAI: diva2:411162
Public defence
2011-05-20, MB 416, Södertörns högskola, Alfred Nobels allé 7, Huddinge, 10:00 (Swedish)
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies
Available from: 2011-04-28 Created: 2011-04-16 Last updated: 2015-06-16Bibliographically approved

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Sjödin Lindenskoug, Susanna
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