«Som civilisationen og humaniteten kræver» - En studie av hustuktdebatten på andre halvdel av 1800-tallet.
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Abstract: This master thesis has its focus on the debate in the Norwegian parliament about corporal punishment in the second half of the 19th century. The parent’s right to use physical punishment upon children and servants was first authorized in the Norwegian legislation in 1687. This right was later expanded to also include sailors, apprentices, prisoners and schoolchildren. In 1866, critics started to question this custom. In the next 26 years, three debates followed in the Norwegian parliament in 1881, 1884 and 1891. My aim in this thesis is to find out why and in which way corporal punishment became a topic of discussion in the Norwegian parliament. My sources are mainly parliamentary debates. The debate did not aim to abolish corporal punishment, but primarily restrict it. This included for example introducing age restrictions and restrictions for legal methods of physical punishment. The essence of the debate is two opposing views on physical punishment. Many critics in the second half of the 19th century considered the right to use physical punishment upon children and other groups as an inhumane custom that was in conflict with the spirit of the age. Many considered it to be a part of an old, patriarchal society and unfit for the modern, more civilized Norwegian society. It also seems like corporal punishment was not as widely used as it had been the previous decades, which made it even more disputable. On the other hand, many members of the parliament claimed that physical punishment was a necessary tool for enforcing discipline in for example the home or in the classroom. These conflicting views are also closely related to the historical context of Norwegian politics in the 19th century. It was a time when a liberal, democratic left wing fought to abolish the old patriarchal, three estates society, which the conservative right wing were fighting to preserve. In this context, the left wing wished to restrict the use of corporal punishment while the right wing wanted to maintain it. This thesis studies the 26 year long process towards the restriction of physical punishment in 1891. This law abolished the right to use physical punishment on servants, sailors and apprentices. The right to punish children was also restricted to be used in moderation and for upbringing purposes only. The 1891 law was an important step towards the abolishment of parent’s right to use physical punishment upon children in 1972.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
- History 399
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