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Open Access (free)
Bonnie Clementsson

In this chapter the reader learns about the early-modern Swedish judicial system and the ecclesiastical structure. The judicial body, which was fairly uniform, consisted of three secular levels. Each level had its counterpart in the ecclesiastical structure. Readers are also introduced to incest prohibitions in a historical context with a focus on Christian rules and notions. The differences between Catholic and Protestant ideas in respect of incest prohibitions are clarified. The intense debate that was going on between theologians on a European level before, during, and after the Reformation is discussed and the outcome presented. Finally, the position of Johan Stiernhöök, a high-ranking Swedish jurist in the late 1600s, is demonstrated in order to explain the judicial discourse in Sweden at the point in time where the investigation begins.

in Incest in Sweden, 1680–1940
Bonnie Clementsson

This chapter is divided into two sections, the first of them dealing with a kind of intermediate period until 1872 and the second dealing with the later period. The first period is described as one that consolidated the seeds of change that were observed around the turn of the century in 1800. Incest was discussed as a moral crime, the number of judgements upheld by higher authorities diminished, and the punishments were often more lenient. After 1872, when several incest prohibitions were abolished, many of the relationships that had been consensual disappeared from the material, and incest came to be seen as a crime of violence. The notions of incestuous relations were also affected by changing attitudes with regard to, for instance, male and female sexuality, positive and negative eugenics, and age. The chapter ends with a comparison to developments in other European countries.

in Incest in Sweden, 1680–1940
Bonnie Clementsson

After a short review and update regarding social and judicial changes until the turn of the century in 1800, crime cases and marriage applications are once more analysed separately for the same period. The fact that the number of dispensations was rising dramatically from around the second half of the eighteenth century is discussed in comparison to economic and cultural changes and also placed in a wider European context. The material shows that a significant change in practical assessments of incest cases took place during the last decades of the century, even though the laws remained exactly the same as before. The changes can be related to cultural changes in society regarding religion, passion, family position, and age relations between spouses. The final section of the chapter analyses the political debates that followed, presenting the arguments for and against a liberation of some incest prohibitions.

in Incest in Sweden, 1680–1940
Bonnie Clementsson

In this chapter, incest crime cases and marriage applications are analysed separately. Statistics of incest crimes in several different relations are presented and normal punishments –and exceptions from them – are discussed. Practical assessments are compared to the theoretical legislation. Around the turn of the century in 1700, Swedish society was permeated by religious ideas, and the regulatory frameworks were very strict. Still, there was a certain scope for independent interpretation in individual cases, which points to the capacity of an agent to act within the framework of the structure. Crimes of incest that were discovered and applications for dispensation challenged the official legal standards; and in the practical handling of these cases, a pattern of cultural values appears that concerned notions of emotions and passions as well as notions of family hierarchy. The chapter ends with a summary and a comparison to developments in other European countries.

in Incest in Sweden, 1680–1940
A history of forbidden relations

This study brings out the norms and culturally dependent values that formed the basis of the theoretical regulation and the practical handling of incest cases in Sweden 1680–1940, situating this development in a wider European context. It discusses a broad variety of general human subjects that are as important today as they were hundreds of years ago, such as love, death, family relations, religion, crimes, and punishments.

By analysing criminal-case material and applications for dispensation, as well as political and legislative sources, the incest phenomenon is explored from different perspectives over a long time period. It turns out that although the incest debate has been dominated by religious, moral, and later medical beliefs, ideas about love, age, and family hierarchies often influenced the assessment of individual incest cases. These unspoken values could be decisive – sometimes life-determining – for the outcome of various incest cases.

The book will interest scholars from several different fields of historical research, such as cultural history, the history of crime and of sexuality, family history, history of kinship, and historical marriage patterns. The long time period also broadens the number of potential readers. Since the subject concerns general human issues that are as current today as they were three centuries ago, the topic will also appeal to a non-academic audience.

Open Access (free)
Bonnie Clementsson

The introduction outlines the aim of the study, the source material is described, and previous research on the subject is presented. The source material consists of judgement-book material on the court-of-appeal and hundred-court levels as well as of marriage applications and political and legislative material. The author also discusses the theory of symbolic interaction, explaining what guided her choices of source materials as well as their limitations. The origins of incest taboos are discussed from the standpoint of scientific research. Furthermore, the complicated subdivisions of the different incest prohibitions are carefully presented with regard to both consanguinity and affinity relationships.

in Incest in Sweden, 1680–1940
A summary discussion
Bonnie Clementsson

This summary is divided into thematic subsections that define the results of the study. A brief review of the outlines of the study is supplied, as well as an overview of the European context. The long timeline has proved vital to the ability to perceive cultural changes, which are often subtle and slow. It is clear that criminal cases and marriage applications involving incest have been assessed not only according to the official laws but also in accordance with cultural values. The view of incestuous relations at any one time has, for instance, been affected by economic conditions at a structural as well as an individual level. Furthermore, notions regarding marriage, sexuality, love, and passion have influenced the assessments of different cases in various ways. The prevailing view regarding the relevant persons’ respective ages has also been important to assessments of incestuous relationships at different points in time.

in Incest in Sweden, 1680–1940
Coreen Anne McGuire

This chapter begins by showing how the First World War improved the technology used in amplified telephony while simultaneously creating the conditions of mass deafening that made such technology necessary. It then argues that the telephone was used as an arbitrator of normal hearing and that the data used to create apparently normal hearing levels in the British interwar telephone system featured a ‘disability data gap’. This disability data gap was embedded in the British Post Office’s ‘artificial ear’, which represented ideal hearing (eight normal men with good hearing) as normal, to the detriment of those at the outer edges of a more representative average curve. Subsequently, those with less than perfect hearing agitated to demand the Post Office supply telephones that could be used by the majority of the population. The Post Office responded by creating its ‘telephone service for the deaf’, and the subsequent user appropriation and modification of this service vividly demonstrates the fluid categorisation of deafness that the telephone enabled. This history reveals how aspirational users employed a variety of strategies to ensure equitable access to telephony and how users with hearing loss created modified devices so that they could access telephony.

in Measuring difference, numbering normal
Coreen Anne McGuire

This chapter shows how the standardisation of sound was perfected and pursued in the interwar years as the ‘telephone as audiometer’ was embraced as an objective tool to define noise limits and the thresholds of normal hearing. In this way, the audiometer was elevated as a tool for testing hearing loss and prescribing hearing aids because it provided an objective numerical inscription, which could be used to guard against malingering and to negotiate compensation claims for hearing loss. Simultaneously, the ‘telephone as hearing aid’ exploded into the interwar medical market as hearing aid moderation and prescription were complicated by conflicts over categorisation, the status of hearing aids as medical devices and the question of which institutional bodies were responsible for the ‘problem of hearing loss’. Finally, this chapter ends with analysis of the ending of the Post Office’s amplified telephone service and argues that failure to consider user input or the reality of hearing aid usage from the perspective of the ‘deaf subscriber’ led to failure to provide an NHS adjunct for telephony.

in Measuring difference, numbering normal
Setting the standards for disability in the interwar period.

Measuring difference, numbering normal provides a detailed study of the technological construction of disability by examining how the audiometer and spirometer were used to create numerical proxies for invisible and inarticulable experiences. Measurements, and their manipulation, have been underestimated as crucial historical forces motivating and guiding the way we think about disability. Using measurement technology as a lens, this book draws together several existing discussions on disability, healthcare, medical practice, embodiment and emerging medical and scientific technologies at the turn of the twentieth century. As such, this work connects several important and usually separate academic subject areas and historical specialisms. The standards embedded in instrumentation created strict but ultimately arbitrary thresholds of normalcy and abnormalcy. Considering these standards from a long historical perspective reveals how these dividing lines shifted when pushed. The central thesis of this book is that health measurements are given artificial authority if they are particularly amenable to calculability and easy measurement. These measurement processes were perpetuated and perfected in the interwar years in Britain as the previously invisible limits of the body were made visible and measurable. Determination to consider body processes as quantifiable was driven by the need to compensate for disability occasioned by warfare or industry. This focus thus draws attention to the biopower associated with systems, which has emerged as a central area of concern for modern healthcare in the second decade of the twenty-first century.