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Guldmynt eller äpple: Straffrättsligt ansvar för barn och ungdomar i Sverige och Nederländerna 1590-1800
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.
2009 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The principal aim of this dissertation was to examine the character in praxis of children's and youth's criminal responsibility in two particular European regions during the early modern period that, in comparison with each other, were marked by a number of substantial societal differences. The regions selected were the densely populated, market-oriented coastal district of the Netherlands and the sparsely populated agricultural society in Sweden during the period 1590-1800.

Since there were substantial economic and social differences between the Netherlands and Sweden during the 1600s in such areas as the development of salaried work, urbanization, and the structure and character of the household, it was reasonable to imagine that the present investigation would reveal, among other things, that there were marked differences in views concerning children and youth as well. Upon the basis of what was written concerning the application of extenuating circumstances in respect to children, along with what was known about views concerning children in older legislation, previous research has emphasized that there were a considerable number of similarities within European legal praxis during the early modern period.

In conclusion, one can state that early modern judges from the Netherlands and Sweden assigned criminal responsibility to children under twelve in quite similar ways, while the differences between them in this regard primarily concerned how youths were treated. There was roughly the same attitude concerning children throughout the period 1590-1799 in both regions, but the view concerning the criminal responsibility of teenagers was different in the Netherlands until the first half of the 1700s. Views concerning their criminal responsibility were quite clearly influenced by such factors as gender, competence, and age, but the effect of social changes was to a much greater degree visible in praxis for them than it was in respect to children under twelve. Different societies placed different demands on youths, and this was expressed above all in the age level for full responsibility and the application of adult punishment.

The most striking differences between the Netherlands and Sweden concerned the application of age limits for full responsibility, the responsibility borne by youths who had been enticed into committing crimes, and the manner in which the law viewed the responsibility of boys and girls when the offenders were between twelve and eighteen years of age. All three of the most substantial differences thus involved the level of criminal responsibility that youths bore.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2009. , 357 p.
Studia historica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0081-6531 ; 237
Keyword [en]
Children, youth, responsibility, criminal liability, juvenile delinquents, court, family, gender, social history, Sweden, Netherlands, early modern
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-101207ISBN: 978-91-554-7524-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-101207DiVA: diva2:212064
Public defence
2009-09-25, Geijersalen, Eng6-1023, Uppsala, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-05-28 Created: 2009-04-21 Last updated: 2014-10-02Bibliographically approved

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