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The rural village in nineteenth-century Europe was caught in a conflict between its traditional local culture and its new integration into the grasp of state institutions and modern social structures. Local practices were turned into crimes; the social meaning of crime within the village culture was redefined by the introduction of bourgeois penal law and psychiatry. The language of the intruding agencies had created, through a wealth of written documentation, an image of village life for the outside world. Criminal investigations, however, had to be based on interrogations of the villagers themselves, and it was through this questioning process that their own views, language, and symbolic gestures went on record. Schulte provides a new and original interpretation of village power structures, gender relations, and generational rites of passage through a close reading of the trial proceedings before the penal courts of Upper Bavaria for the three most important types of rural crime: arson, infanticide, and poaching.Read more
- An analysis of nineteenth century rural crime in Germany
- Makes important points about how official records can be used as historical evidence to illuminate the lives of ordinary people
Reviews & endorsements
"Schulte's discussion of infanticide goes beyond what we know of this act for earlier periods...and therefore mertis attention." Canadian Journal of HistorySee more reviews
"This innovative book establishes an intersection between structuralist analysis and psychohistory in a most readable way. The examination is well illustrated by actual testimony... It is certainly accessible to readers at all levels..." Choice
"This quick summary of Schulte's book by no means does justice to the manifold ways in which the author shows 'how peasant society worked'....a fine work."
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- Date Published: April 1994
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521431866
- length: 208 pages
- dimensions: 236 x 158 x 18 mm
- weight: 0.424kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. The break-up of the village
2. The peasant as seen by the middle class
3. The literature on rural relations
4. Crime as a medium of historical anthropology
5. Landscape with villages
Part I. Peasant Society and the Individual:
1. Fire in the village: i. The arsonist
iii. The village
iv. The families
2. The mad-doctor's gaze: i. From the social symptons to the physical
ii. Female arsonists and puberty
iii. Catharsis or disease?
Part II. The Status of Women and the Place of Children:
1. The bridal wagon
2. Silent births: i. Infanticides
ii. Time spent as a maid
iii. Relationships between unmarried farm servants
iv. 'With the angels'
Part III. The Disputed Boundaries of the Village:
1. Poaching - economics, culture and sexuality: i. 'Nothing but shoot game'
ii. A trade on the edge of the village
iii. The village goes poaching
iv. The young men
v. The reality of fantasy
2. Domination in jeopardy: i. The provincial judge - attempts to mediate
ii. The 'good natured mountain folk' and the 'stormy times'
iii. Manhood and execution
iv. A fantasy of reconciliation
Conclusion: on the threshold between two worlds.
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