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Värnpliktsvägran: En rättshistorisk studie av samvetsfrihetens gränser i den rättspolitiska debatten 1898-1925
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Law, Department of Law.
2002 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Conscientious objection (English)
Abstract [en]

Between the years 1898–1925 there was an intense debate in the Swedish Parliament concerning different legislative proposals on the right for conscientious objectors to be exempted from military service. In 1902 a royal ordinance gave the regimental commander an option to allow conscripts, who professed grave compunctions regarding military service, to perform other work within the regiment. In 1920 a provisional law was passed that gave religious conscientious objectors the opportunity to serve outside the regiment and in civilian clothing and in 1925 the law was made permanent.

The main purpose of this study has been to determine how the concept of protection due to freedom of consciousness was used in this context and how the limits of this protection was perceived and constructed in the parliamentary debate and in legislative proposals.

The debate regarding legal protection for conscientious objection have also been analysed from a gender perspective, with an aim to illustrate how different perceptions of masculinity and masculine behaviour collided in this debate. The conscientious objectors were regarded by some as being honourable and principled, but were by others seen as cowards who did not understand that it was their duty, as men, to learn how to protect their country, a duty which was greater than any need for freedom of consciousness.

The study shows that the issue of legislative protection for conscientious objection was debated in a context where the emphasis was on the state interest as the primary objective. When it came to conscientious objection, freedom of consciousness was allowed only as long as it did not interfere with the state’s interests. In the first years of the period, the limitations on freedom of consciousness were very strict. In 1925, with conscientious objection being defined in a religious, as well as an ethical context, freedom of consciousness was given more leeway, but was still limited to what was in accordance with the state interests. The focus was on the individual’s duties and obligations towards the state. It was a matter of civic duties, rather than of civil rights.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Juridiska institutionen , 2002. , 236 p.
Keyword [en]
Law, law, legal history, conscientious objection, conscription, grave compunctions, freedom of conciousness, gender, masculinity.
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-1865OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-1865DiVA: diva2:161444
Public defence
2002-04-12, Brusewitzsalen, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2002-03-22 Created: 2002-03-22Bibliographically approved

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