Faces of Violence Revisited. A Typology of Violence in Early Modern Rural Germany.
Journal of Social History 2001, Spring, 34, 3
Journal of Social History
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According to Robert Muchembled, in early modern France everyday violence was part of popular culture; it played an essential social role. In all social strata sociability was characterized by physically violent interactions, especially among young men. (1) Everyday violence was omnipresent, not fully criminalized, and prosecuted with indecision. In medieval and early modern Germany the situation did not differ fundamentally. Faithful to their duty as regents, local authorities periodically renewed edicts against violent excesses. At the same time they continued complaining about their deficient observance. (2) While not questioning the sovereign's right and duty to issue orders and rules, subjects persisted in established customs. In their hierarchy of values violation of the governmental prohibition of violence ranked second after the defense of property and honor. Local officials were fully aware of this capricious theory of life and respected it to a certain degree. If a murderer's behavior reflected values and sentiments that were known to be easily injured, subjects as well as officials exculpated the perpetrator. (3) Law enforcement remained inconsistent: "Laws that were not enforced--a structural characteristic of the early modern State?" Jurgen Schlumbohm asks rhetorically. Issuing and publishing laws had "a purpose in itself." (4) People did not dispose of effective means for verbal conflict resolution. Insults 'worked' in their full semantic range, so that few alternatives existed to physical retaliation. (5) While a wide range of mechanisms for peaceful conflict resolution existed, violent self-help was still the most effective means to defend one's interests.
- € 2,99
- Categorie: Geschiedenis
- Publicatiedatum: 22-03-2001
- Uitgever: Journal of Social History
- Tekstlengte: 36 pagina's
- Taal: Engels