Duellanten och rättvisan. Duellbrott och synen på manlighet i stormaktsväldets slutskede
Sammanfattning: This dissertation examines duelling crimes in Sweden during the first half of the 18th century. During this period such crimes could involve verbal insults concerning honour as well as duelling, resulting in death. Inspired by the methods and perspectives of New Cultural History and by theories of masculinity the study argues that masculine violence is a cultural category that is historically developed. The focus is on the discourses that defined the legitimacy of masculine violence and honour in its cultural and historical context as well as elucidating perceptions of masculinity related to these. Based on texts such as legal Acts, judicial records, verdicts, defence and prosecution Acts, letters of remission, Royal Council protocols and forensic reports this thesis highlights how the judicial discourse involving crimes of duelling included discourses and values of the time and how these expressed an understanding of violence and masculinity. In their argumentation in court the various actors employed discourses of their time such as religion, an advanced jurisprudence, perceptions of virtue and honour, policies involving penalty, and to a certain extent their knowledge of medicine, health, and the human body. This study has shown that the judicial argumentation on justified and unjustified violence in crimes of duelling above all had its origin in a Christian, hegemonic cultural perception where binary oppositions of good and bad are combined with jurisprudence. Contemporary research has maintained that much discourse concerning violence has defined the borders of masculinity in contrast of what is regarded as feminine and emasculated. This study argues how in the early 18th centuries the discourse of peace and non-violence, based on the jurisprudence of the time as well as on the narratives of the New Testament that preached a Christian lifestyle and love, constituted the argumentation in court and also the image of the masculine ideal. However, duels and breaches of honour need to be understood as expressions of an masculine culture of honour rather than a religious practice, which elucidates how early modern conceptions of masculinity spanned over a wide range from the most peaceful, meek and forgiving to the militant and violent. This specific honour consisted of components derived from the prevailing cultural perceptions of morality, notions of gender, combined with an aristocratic ideology. Possible reasons for a duellist to make use of insults, challenges to duel and violence were disrespectful treatment in the public arena, calling in question a military person's role, and accusations of lying and spreading of rumours.
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