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4 Gender, Sex and Cultures of Trouble in Witchcraft Studies: European Historiography with Special Reference to Finland

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes the current historiography of gender in witch trials with the help of the contrasting material from Finland. By the early 1980s, historians who specialized in women's history were increasingly discussing ways in which social and cultural systems of sexual differentiation affected both women and men, and began to use the word "gender" to describe these systems. Just as historians thought that counting numbers of accused women and men was a job already done, it seems that the late geographical expansion of study and surprising sex ratios in many parts of Europe are making that task interesting again. There are some striking features in these studies: the first is that the numbers differ greatly in different parts of Europe. This is partly because historians have had to use statistics drawn from areas of very different sizes and populations and of time periods of varying lengths.

Keywords: cultural systems; sex ratios; social systems; witch trials



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