Managing legal pluralism: the negotiations on the re-acquisition of crown land in the Livonian Diet (1681) as a matter of securitisation and imperial integration

by Dorothée Goetze

27 Aug 2021
Journal of the British Academy
Digital Object Identifier
Number of pages
22 (pp. 90-111)

Abstract: The emergence of empires during the early modern period led to a shift of territorial borders and social as well as economic and political boundaries. This is also true for early modern Sweden and especially for Livonia, being one of the eastern border provinces of the Swedish empire. The plans for withdrawing alienated possessions of the Swedish Crown there, i.e. a reduktion, make this particularly clear. This article examines the discussion of the year 1681 between the Swedish Crown and the Livonian knighthood and nobility in the Livonian Diet on the retake of crown lands as an example of how early modern empires dealt with legal pluralism. Combining the concepts of securitisation and integration will show that these deliberations should be understood less as a struggle for or against re-acquisitions of crown lands than as negotiations about Swedish rule in Livonia, and its normative foundations and functions, and thus about the Swedish empire.

Keywords: border, boundary, early modern period, empire, integration, Livonia, reduktion, securitisation, Sweden.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 9, supplementary issue 4 (Global Border Making and Securitisation in the Early Modern World)

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