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Patriarchal power and domestic homicide

A complex analysis of the history of private violence within the context of public violence decline examines domestic homicide as a legal, cultural and historical phenomenon. This can provide new understanding of the origins of and attitudes to domestic violence in modern European society.
Patriarchal power and domestic homicide
Domestic homicide such as spousal murder and infanticide are known to be some of the most heinous crimes over the centuries. In early modern Europe, family hierarchy allowed for the use of patriarchal power to guarantee order and loyalty.

An EU-funded project, CHDHOM ('Till death us do part': The comparative history of domestic homicide in early modern Europe), examined the uses and abuses of patriarchal power resulting in homicide within the family in early modern Europe. It looked at domestic homicide as a multifaceted occurrence of private violence developing during this period.

Case studies from England, France, Italy, Russia, Scotland and Sweden were investigated using court records as well as legal, medical and academic sources. The premise was that the nature of domestic violence has changed to reflect active intervention of the state. This is a result of limiting the head of the household's authority to punish and kill family members. Such changes had significant implications in the public and private realms as well as for social and political attitudes toward violence.

CHDHOM produced numerous publications, including a book. Dissemination was carried out in collaboration with other research groups and has been incorporated into course material. The results will contribute to several academic fields, including family history, history of violence, gender and women's history, and criminology. Overall, the work can contribute to increased awareness of family violence in society.

Related information


Patriarchal power, domestic homicide, domestic violence, family, CHDHOM, criminology
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