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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book A Punishment for Each Criminal. The book examines the various ways in which gender influenced the Swedish medieval law codes. It explores how ideas of gender affected both how crimes were described and how they were to be punished. The book examines the development of female criminal liability in medieval Sweden and the reasons why women seemingly were made criminally liable for some crimes but not for others. It also argues that female criminal liability was introduced for ideological reasons that at times had little, or nothing, to do with which crimes women or men were thought to commit. Women were punished more leniently than men for certain crimes, although the law clearly stated that women were to be held equally responsible for the crimes.

Keywords: crime; criminal liability; medieval law codes; Sweden; women

10.1163/9789004271623_002
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