Död som skådespel : En mentalitetshistorisk analys av skenavrättningar som utdömts av Göta hovrätt mellan 1648 och 1653, samt jämförelse med förhållanden i England och Tyskland
Sammanfattning: This essay examines cases of faux executions administered by the high court of Göta hovrätt in Sweden during the years of 1648-1653. The faux executions are examined as a form of mental torture, utilized to extract confessions from suspected criminals. The essay builds on previous research on subjects of the early modern Swedish justice system, the interaction between the Swedish justice system and its constituents, as well as research on the subject of torture in the context of the Swedish justice system. Furthermore, research on the subject of torture and justice systems in early modern Germany and England are used as points of comparison. The goal is to understand the place of faux executions in both judicial practice and the mental frameworks of early modern Swedes, the condemning as well as the condemned. To achieve this end, the essay employs the theories of history of mentalities as well as ideas from micro history. The primary material used in this essay are the judgements of the high court of Göta hovrätt, from which all orders of faux executions were issued. Importance is given not only to the sentencing as such, but the meaning loaded into choices of individual words. Additionally, the original sentence from the relevant lower court is consulted when available. The aim is to amass as much text as possible with regards to each individual case in order to acquire as many details as possible about each case. The essay concludes that the use of faux executions arose as a consequence of the Roman-canon legal theory of proof, as well as the prevalence of ideas about the connection between truthful confessions and pain or death. In addition, the essay concludes that the present mentalities offered a wide range of reactions to the faux executions to those subjected to it. Furthermore, with regards to faux executions used in cases of infanticide, a parallel is found between the lack of condemning evidence and the court's ambiguous use of language with regards to the constructed ideal of "the guilty mother." Also, the essay concludes that faux executions had an ambiguous relationship with the concept of poena extraordinaria present in judicial discourse and practice throughout continental Europe. With regards to conditions in early modern England, it is established that there was no place for the faux execution, as the use of torture in England was not a consequence of the legal theory of proof. Lastly, the essay concludes that while the preconditions for faux executions existed in Germany, a possible reason for it not being used was the decentralized nature of its justice system.
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