Monday, December 20, 2010

Finn on Ågren, Women and Property in Sweden, 1600-1857

Reviews in History has posted a review of Maria Ågren, Domestic Secrets: Women and Property in Sweden, 1600-1857 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009).

Margot Finn (University of Warwick) describes the book as "a masterly analysis of women’s changing relations to property in Sweden from the early 17th to the mid 19th century" and "a major contribution to women’s, legal and social history."

Here's an excerpt of the review:
Beginning with a carefully crafted historiographical and methodological overview, the book successively considers topics that include the competing claims to land rights made by women, marital couples, kin groups, local peasant communities and the state; the evolution of compensatory practices in the face of a deterioration of land rights driven by proletarianisation; bankruptcy legislation and the emergence of a public sphere; and radical legal reforms by the Swedish state that culminated in the abolition of distinctions between lineage and non-lineage property in land. Clearly written and logically organised, Domestic Secrets focuses upon developments within Sweden, but situates these trends within wider comparative European (including British) frameworks that extend the significance of this book’s conclusions far beyond Scandinavian borders. A major intervention in women’s legal history, Ågren’s study asks fundamental questions about the structural, social and discursive practices that have shaped European women’s access to landed property over time, and offers a series of intriguing answers to those questions, based on a wealth of original research in archival and printed primary sources.
You can read the rest here.

Hat tip: H-Law