© 2019

Suicide, Law, and Community in Early Modern Sweden


Part of the World Histories of Crime, Culture and Violence book series (WHCCV)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Riikka Miettinen
    Pages 1-44
  3. Riikka Miettinen
    Pages 173-255
  4. Riikka Miettinen
    Pages 327-337
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 339-346

About this book


This book explores the judicial treatment of suicides in early modern Sweden, with a focus on the criminal investigation and selective treatment of suicides in the lower courts in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Riikka Miettinen shows that reactions and attitudes towards suicides varied considerably despite harsh condemnation by officials. The indictment, investigation, and classification of suspected suicides and the mental state of a person already deceased were challenging, and depended on local co-operation and lay testimonies. Not all suicides were considered alike; a widespread view on the heinousness of suicide was not the same as agreement about specific cases, and did not result in uniform handling of them. The social status and local ties of the deceased influenced the interpretations and responses at the local lower courts and communities. Esteemed local community members had a better defence and greater chance to escape the shameful penalties.


Sweden’s Great Power Era judicial revolution legal history historiography of suicide local communities

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Tampere UniversityTampereFinland

About the authors

Riikka Miettinen is Postdoctoral Researcher in History at the Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences at Tampere University, Finland.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Suicide, Law, and Community in Early Modern Sweden
  • Authors Riikka Miettinen
  • Series Title World Histories of Crime, Culture and Violence
  • Series Abbreviated Title World Histories of Crime, Culture and Violence
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-11844-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-11845-7
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XI, 346
  • Number of Illustrations 2 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Early Modern Europe
    Social History
    Cultural History
    Crime and Society
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