Tidsskriftet Kulturstudier
Tidsskriftet Kulturstudier

Tidsskriftet

Ud fra gennemgang og analyse af retssager, hvori kvinder indgik som part, tegnes i denne artikel et billede af kvinders vilkår og handlemuligheder i det sene 1700-tals København. De kvinder, der optræder i retssagerne, var naturligvis særlige i og med at de optrådte der, men ud fra disse sager kan fremkaldes et billede af de vilkår, som alle kvinder var underlagt. Dette kan belyses gennem at se på, om disse kvinders grænseoverskridende handlinger var tilfældigheder og/eller bestemt af eksisterende muligheder eller var den eneste udvej, de havde, eller om der var tale om bevidste strategier for at udvide rammerne for handling? Var de anklagede kvinder ikke blot på kant med loven men også på kanten af – eller udenfor – et hushold med en mand som husbond? Havde oplysningstidens diskussioner om fornuft, videnskab og lighed nogen betydning for kvinders vilkår?

English summary

Copenhagen women on the edge
Terms and opportunities for women’s lives in the Enlightenment


During the Enlightenment in Copenhagen, important matters were discussed such as reason, knowledge, equality and education and what constituted the free citizen. Today, this period is often referred to as the cradle of human rights – the beginning of the democratic welfare society of today. This article questions whether women were meant to be part of this process. Did they have the opportu- nity to participate in the discussion at all or were they still subject to a framework that excluded them from living an independent life? A small part of the answer can be derived from litigations involving women acting as a part. Here, women who exceeded the limits of the lawful and who most often stood outside a house- hold – were ‘women on the edge’ in more than one sense.
Based on review and analysis of litigations involving women’s participation, this article gives a picture of the terms women were subject to and the opportu- nities they had in the late 1700s ́ Copenhagen. The empirical basis consists of archives from ‘Landsover- samt Hof- og Stadsretten’ (City Court) in the period 1771-1805. Five different year’s court records and les have been reviewed for relevant cases.