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Militärstatens arvegods: Officerstjänstens socialreproduktiva funktion i Sverige och Danmark, ca 1720-1800
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Das Erbe des Militärstaates : Die Sozialreproduktive Funktion des Offizierdienstes in Schweden und Dänemark 1720-1800 (German)
Abstract [en]

A new type of state emerged in Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Such states, used the bulk of tax revenues for warfare or preparations for war, with Sweden and Denmark being particularly heavily armed. Officers and officials stood at the center of this system. Beginning in the mid-eighteenth century, however, European economies were gradually transformed into a capitalist social order. A starting point for the present discussion is that this economic dynamic affected the manner in which this redistribution system functioned and thus the social conditions for the officials.

The question addressed in this dissertation concerns how the role of officers functioned as a means for securing a position within the upper strata in Sweden and Denmark-Norway during the period 1720–1800.

One central meaning of officer service was the transfer of hierarchical positions between generations, whereby the officer corps could socially assert themselves through their military ranks. Rank mirrored the conditions of wealth, and the order of ranks was an expression of officers' positions within a well-to-do social group. These positions could lead to advantageous marriages that transferred economic resources through, for example, dowries. Military units stationed in the countryside were usually composed of a number of locally influential families.

The economic significance of military service initially complemented income from landed property. But the price of an officer's position increased in Sweden during the second half of the century, with ever greater private wealth being needed to pursue a military career. Consequently, the economic advantages of officer service steadily diminished. Rather than describe military service as a profession, the metaphor of a neighborhood gentlemen's club better expresses the social logic that came to characterize the officer corps.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2007. , 373 p.
Studia historica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0081-6531 ; 230
Keyword [en]
History, Sweden and Denmark, 1720-1800, early modern state, military state, social reproduction, redistribution, army officers, agrarian revolution, early capitalism, military allotment and tenure estabishment, purchase of office, marriage, patron-klient relationships, patronage, social history, military history, upper strata social life, nobility, table of ranks
Keyword [sv]
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-7897ISBN: 978-91-554-6896-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-7897DiVA: diva2:170294
Public defence
2007-06-01, Sal 10, Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 10:00
Available from: 2007-05-10 Created: 2007-05-10 Last updated: 2014-10-02Bibliographically approved

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Thisner, Fredrik
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