Theorizing continuity and change in the discourse of male violence: A case study of šmarital disagreements’ in 19th century Sweden

  • Simon Lindgren Umeå University
Keywords: patriarchy, male violence, Sweden, 19th century, discourse


This article presents results from an analysis of a set of 19th century cases of ‘marital disagreement’ (male violence) in a small northern Swedish town. The data is analysed in two steps: firstly, through a general content analysis with the purpose of uncovering the principal patterns and predominant features and secondly by a discourse analysis of a key case. One of the key questions of gender theory has been that of how a social order in which men are seen as superior to women manages to prevail through space and time – transgressing historical and cultural borders. How can this order subsist in a succession of epochs and cultures which are, in many respects, dramatically different from one another? This question has already been addressed many times within feminism, particularly as part of the debate concerning the concepts of ‘patriarchy’ versus ‘gender order’. This article once again revisits this terrain, and aims to use its very specific historical case study as a point of departure for a more general discussion of how continuity and change in transhistorical male dominance might be theoretically understood.