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‘Arsenic of the size of a pea’: Women and poisoning in 19th-century Sweden
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies. Göteborgs universitet.
2015 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of History, ISSN 0346-8755, E-ISSN 1502-7716, Vol. 40, no 1, p. 97-118Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is one of criminology’s (few) established truths that women commit far fewer violent crimes than men do. This has been especially evident when it comes to deadly violence. Besides witchcraft and infanticide there is, however, another serious crime that has been associated with women: poisoning. This article studies female poisoners in 19th-century Sweden. The investigation shows that poisonings were fairly common during this period, albeit far from being an exclusively female affair. The empirical findings reveal that these crimes were directed at several different categories of victims: spouses, children and elderly household members, as well as other women. It is also shown that a considerable number of the women accused of poisoning was acquitted, in many cases thanks to the strict process rules associated with the statutory theory of legal proof. Theoretically, the article hypothesizes an understanding of these poisonings where agency is placed at the centre. They are thus seen as acts where (female) subjectivity was created during this period.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 40, no 1, p. 97-118
Keywords [en]
women, crime, poisoning, Sweden, 19th century, subjectivity
National Category
Law History
Research subject
Social Sciences, Criminology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-40089DOI: 10.1080/03468755.2014.987810ISI: 000347543100005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84920881637OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-40089DiVA, id: diva2:788044
Available from: 2015-02-12 Created: 2015-02-12 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved

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Nilsson, Roddy

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf