To bring together scholars who explain historical phenomena using the methods of the social sciences

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Wed 4 April
    8.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 5 April
    8.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 6 April
    8.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 7 April
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    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

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Wednesday 4 April 2018 11.00 - 13.00
F-2 - CRI02 : Crime and Criminal Justice in Rural Europe (17th-19th centuries)
MAP/OG/006 Maths and Physics
Networks: Criminal Justice , Rural Chair: Xavier Rousseaux
Organizer: Dieter BruneelDiscussant: Xavier Rousseaux
Sander Berghmans : Optimising Forest Management by the Arenberg Family in the 18th Century: Making Use of Legal Power in the “Land of Enghien” (Southern Netherlands)
The ducal family of Arenberg was one of the most important landowners of the Southern Netherlands. Their properties included vast amounts of forests and constituted the backbone of the income of their rural estates. During the 17th and especially the 18th century, the dukes of Arenberg intensified their attempts to ... (Show more)
The ducal family of Arenberg was one of the most important landowners of the Southern Netherlands. Their properties included vast amounts of forests and constituted the backbone of the income of their rural estates. During the 17th and especially the 18th century, the dukes of Arenberg intensified their attempts to increase the revenue generated by these forests. They introduced various new forestry techniques and practices and improved roads and ditches. On some of their estates, the Arenberg family also made use of their legal competences to strengthen their grip on forest management.
In my presentation, I will discuss how the dukes used their legal powers to increase income from their estates in Enghien. This includes, amongst others, a discussion about shifts in the silvicultural practices, employment rates, use rights and prosecution of forest crimes. The results show that economic interests resulted in a more strict interpretation of existing laws and rules about access to woodlands. However, at the same time, it is shown that this strict interpretation does not imply arbitrary jurisdiction. Local communities still had options to counter the violation of their (property) rights. Information about these different aspects of forestry was found in the accounting material of the stewards employed by the Arenberg family and in different types of juridical sources. (Show less)

Dieter Bruneel : Liberating the Land? Use-Rights Conflicts and the Limits of Legal Sanction (Southern Netherlands, c. 1800 - c. 1820)
Between 1750-1850 a wave of agrarian measures aiming at 'liberating the land' from seigniorial hold, collective use and - more broadly - restrictions to individual property rights flourished in Europe. State institutions played a crucial role as one of the driving forces but also had to manage the social consequences ... (Show more)
Between 1750-1850 a wave of agrarian measures aiming at 'liberating the land' from seigniorial hold, collective use and - more broadly - restrictions to individual property rights flourished in Europe. State institutions played a crucial role as one of the driving forces but also had to manage the social consequences generated by these reforms. In this paper, I will focus on a decisive phase in this reform by looking particularly at the Napoleonic period and its legacy in the Southern Netherlands during the period of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. By a careful examination of patterns of rural criminality in two different and internally diverse regions of the Southern Netherlands, use-rights conflicts will be measured in terms of changing conceptions of property, criminality and state authority. I will especially focus on conflicts about gleaning, grazing, foraging and hunting, and how these use-rights were embedded within particular social property relations. I conceptualise these relations as a 'bundle of powers' defined by customary practices, landholding and -use systems, rights of landed property and labour- and welfare regimes. These latter were heavily impacted by the processes of demographic growth, development of central state power and rationalisation of agricultural production which were central to the period 1750-1850. Special attention will be given to the limits of legal sanctions (both in terms of policing institutions, legislative ambiguity, and the discretionary powers of various actors involved in the judicial handling of the conflicts), and the political contention generated by these use-rights conflicts. (Show less)

Riikka Miettinen : Pleading Insanity in Criminal Trials: Establishing the Insanity Defense in the Early Modern Swedish and Finnish Rural District Courts (17th Early 18th Century)
This paper discusses the ways in which legal insanity was investigated and established in practice in the rural district (i.e. lower) courts of law in early modern Sweden. Although the insanity defense has been widely discussed in the field of legal history, earlier research on the practical uses and application ... (Show more)
This paper discusses the ways in which legal insanity was investigated and established in practice in the rural district (i.e. lower) courts of law in early modern Sweden. Although the insanity defense has been widely discussed in the field of legal history, earlier research on the practical uses and application and the practices and actors involved in classifying mental states in early modern Nordic criminal trials has been scant. Like elsewhere in Europe, insanity defense had long been applied in the areas of current Sweden and Finland, but legal praxis related to it varied greatly.
The focus of the paper is on the legal praxis related to insanity defense in connection with felonies and other serious criminal offences in the rural courts of seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Sweden and Finland. Over 90 percent of the population still resided in the countryside where legal and medical experts were few and far between. The lower courts were in the process of professionalisation but still arenas of local peasants and interests. Although the Courts of Appeal had their final say in the classification, the local kin groups and laymen had major roles in the negotiations of mental health in the criminal trials. A look from below shows the significance of the actions and interests of the local communities in the process. (Show less)

Stephan Sander-Faes : Struggling for Existence During ‘Hard Times’: Thievery, Justice, and Survival Strategies in Rural Bohemia, c. 1700
Keywords: policing; thievery; punishment; Bohemia; around 1700

Recent decades witnessed the ‘return’ of the state in mainstream historiographic discourse (Evans et al. 1985). This development was greatly facilitated by the contemporaneous demise of histories of everyday life and social history in general as well as the seemingly unstoppable emergence of early ... (Show more)
Keywords: policing; thievery; punishment; Bohemia; around 1700

Recent decades witnessed the ‘return’ of the state in mainstream historiographic discourse (Evans et al. 1985). This development was greatly facilitated by the contemporaneous demise of histories of everyday life and social history in general as well as the seemingly unstoppable emergence of early modern ‘fiscal-military state[s]’ (Brewer 1989). In combination, this dual shock reinforced the already-existing biases, i.e., History’s focus on the Courts’ great men, military and political affairs, and the nascent milieus of the urban bourgeois circles. Given the prevailing foci of Crime History—gender, age, and social status (Schwerhoff 2011, 15-22, 27-30)—, theft and punishment, especially so outside the aforementioned spatial circumstances, continue to remain blind spots in both ‘statist’ and crime-related historical inquiries.
By contrast, my paper looks at the intersections of these fields of research. Using the large and composite Bohemian possessions of the princes of Eggenberg, centred around ?eský Krumlov in the present-day Czech Republic, as an example, I am investigating instances of thievery around 1700. The Bohemian Lands, situated both in the heart of Central Europe as well as on the periphery of the Habsburg monarchy (Bohemia was the Emperor’s richest crown land yet, in many ways, far away from Vienna), constitute the context for my argument: State integration, understood as elite processes that gradually re-ordered social relations outside the urban centres and milieus, was accompanied by loss of social cohesion and often (in-) directly encouraged the transgression of norms by the majority of people due to economic stress, exploitation, and the struggle for bare survival. Thanks to this approach, certain reciprocities about the two certainties of life, ‘death and taxes’, with Daniel Defoe and Benjamin Franklin, that are usually overlooked or ignored by both historiographic traditions, become visible once again.
By means of carefully analysing the relevant sources such as initial reports by village judges, interrogation protocols, correspondence by princely officials, ducal decrees, and the like, the following main questions are addressed: What drove rural subjects to break the law? How did both local and higher authorities as well as the defendants’ victims and neighbours react to these acts of thievery? And, lastly, what were (are) the implications of investigating such records that, at least in the Bohemian context, stand to be incorporated into the larger framework of early modern crime history (on the 18th century see, e.g., Himl 2003, 170-294)?

Note on references: Peter B. Evans et al., Bringing the State Back In (Cambridge: CUP, 1985); John Brewer, The Sinews of Power: War, Money, and the English State, 1688-1783 (London: Hyman, 1989); Pavel Himl, Die ‘armben Leüte’ und die Macht: Die Untertanen der südböhmischen Herrschaft Ceský Krumlov/Krumau im Spannungsfeld zwischen Gemeinde, Obrigkeit und Kirche, 1680-1781 (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2003). (Show less)