Gender, Violence and Attitudes : Lessons from Early Modern Europe book cover
1st Edition

Gender, Violence and Attitudes
Lessons from Early Modern Europe

ISBN 9781138097063
Published October 16, 2018 by Routledge
206 Pages

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Book Description

Gender, Violence and Attitudes explores the history of gender-based violence in early modern Europe, particularly intimate-partner violence and sexual violence. It also investigates the legacy of gender-based violence through the Enlightenment to the present day and offers a historical background to highly topical human rights issues.

Although the individual subjects of gender and the history of violence are not new topics, the gendering of violence has received little examination. Within this book, the history of attitudes and practices related to gender and power are analysed, and the nature of violence, justice and societal considerations of gender are explored as cultural constructs: they have the capacity to change over time, although there also is a tendency for continuity. The study is based on a wide range of sources including marriage guides, poems, plays, legal texts and court records exploring deep-rooted violence phenomena in Sweden (including historical Finland), the German territories, England and, to some extent, France.

Offering a detailed analysis of gender and the culture of violence, Gender, Violence and Attitudes is essential reading for students and general readers who wish to understand the history of violence and its continual association with gender from early modern Europe to the present day.

Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction: Teaching and Learning

1.1 Studying Gender and Violence

Objectives of research * Attitudinal history and other essential concepts * Previous studies and sources

1.2 Historical Roots of Topical Issues

Ineludible patriarchy * From women’s rights to human rights and feminism * On the prevalence and dynamics of gender-based violence

Part II. Spousal Trouble: Fighting Like Cats and Dogs

2.1 Gendering Marital Disputes

Mirror of affection: mutual duties * To love and fear your husband * Masculine norms of violence and aggression

2.2 Domestic Discipline or Crimes of Violence?

The power to protect * Between excessive and appropriate chastisement * Legitimizing spousal power relations * Punishable tyranny

2.3 Women’s Aggression against Men

First there was nagging * Female devil in the wrong trousers * Inverted perpetrators and victims

2.4 Dissolving, Annulling or Preserving a Marriage

Strategies of guilt * Aiming at harmony * The slippery slopes of intimate-partner violence

Part III. Sexual Trouble: Her will and His

3.1 Daughters, Wives and Mothers

Obedience or agency? * The double standards of chastity * Knowing your place

3.2 Fathers, Brothers and Husbands

Be in control or be ashamed * The virile subject * Challenging toxic masculinity

3.3 Rape and Hierarchies of Victimhood

Ravished and taken * Who deserved legal protection? * Deep-rooted rape culture

3.4 Invisible Sexualized Violence

One spouse takes, the other one gives * Elements of intimacy and violence * Sexualized rhetoric and slander

Epilogue: Breaking Down Structures of Violence

Appendix: Mental Exercises

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Satu Lidman is Adjunct Professor at the University of Turku, Finland. Her previous publications include two co-edited collections entitled Morality, Crime and Social Control in Europe 1500–1900 (2014) and Framing Premodern Desires (2017), among others. For more information visit:

Translation by Eva Malkki