The construction and regulation of gendered crime in Scottish witchcraft cases, 1560-1661

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Lorne, Zoey M.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Department of History
The topic of this thesis addresses an understudied piece in the history of the Scottish witch-hunts, how the prosecution of witchcraft constructed and regulated gender. This paper looks at how the prosecution of witchcraft through the Scottish Witchcraft Act of 1563, reflected the regulation of ideal gender expression through the developing legal system, centralizing state, Reformation and modernizing economy. Paramount to this discussion is the way that women accused of witchcraft challenged the early modern patriarchal order, expectations of piety, and ultimately the expectations of their gender. Witchcraft accusations targeted women who were seen as unruly, transgressive and argumentative. The political, religious and economic processes required the witch-hunts to assert and reinforce the authority of church and state in the lives of early modern women. These systems intersected to structure early modern women’s ideal behaviour, and therefore also their deviance, casting them as witches.
criminal trials , gender regulation , Scottish witch-hunts , social order , state centralization , unified law code , Dissertations, Academic