Crimes of desperation : Poverty-related filicides in 1810-1860
Koskivirta, A. (2017). Crimes of desperation : Poverty-related filicides in 1810-1860. Journal of Finnish Studies, 20 (1), 97-131.
Published inJournal of Finnish Studies
© Journal of Finnish Studies, 2017. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
Using Finnish upper court records as a source, this article is concerned with parental child homicides, newborn infanticides excluded, committed in Finland in the period 1810 to 1860. It focuses on the development in the rate and geographical distribution of these crimes, as well as the social and gendered distribution of the perpetrators. This information forms the basis for analyzing the connection between the motivation for the crime and the pauperization that culminated in these decades as a result of a rapid population growth, which manifested itself in an increase in the landless agrarian proletariat. Dire economic distress over subsistence was a motive for over a half of all filicides. Such crimes of desperation took place especially in periods of crisis: in the years following the Finnish \,Var (1808-09) and after crop failures in the 1830s and the late 1850s. Filicides where the victim was older than a newborn child were, however, as an object of the authorities' concern, overshadowed in the public debate by neonaticides and other major contemporary social problems. ...