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The Village in Court

The Village in Court
Arson, Infanticide, and Poaching in the Court Records of Upper Bavaria 1848–1910


  • Date Published: June 1994
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521431866

£ 81.99

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About the Authors
  • The rural village of nineteenth century Europe was caught in a conflict between its traditional local culture and its integration into new 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 has 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. In this book, first published in 1994, Schulte provides an interpretation of village power structures, gender relations, and generational rites of passage in Upper-Bavaria through a close examination of the proceedings before the penal courts of Upper-Bavaria for the three most important types of rural crime: arson, infanticide, and poaching.

    • 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
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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 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
    ii. Work
    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'
    v. Gossip
    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.

  • Author

    Regina Schulte, Technische Universität Berlin


    Barrie Selman

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