I’m a PhD-student working on a thesis on supplications submitted to the Swedish Diet during the so called Age of Liberty (1719–1772), a period where most of the central political authority rested with the Diet and its four estates –the nobility, the clergy, the burghers and the peasantry. My main interest with this supplication channel is to determine who could use it, who did use it, why they used it and what for, as well as what types of responses the supplicants got. As such, the study is intended as a history from below where I try to gauge the social width of the political conversation of the time.
In my thesis, I use institutional theory from sociology coupled with quantitative methods that allow me to not only fulfil the above mentioned aims but also to see the impact that regulation on the one hand, and the political interaction on the other, had on each other. I am also able to see how the political culture of the Diet and perhaps even society at large contradicted the formal regulation, and thus, how political interaction was a complicated process of not only requests and answers and not only of power relations, but also of ideological concepts and administrative realities.
The thesis situates the Swedish Diet, its supplication channel, and the supplicants in a wider context. Supplications were not only a feasible mean to an individual end, they were also part of the medieval and early modern centralization of judicial and political power, the formation of the state, the protection of the privileges and immunities of the Swedish subjects, and the constant power struggle between the Swedish Diet and the Swedish kings. The thesis is scheduled for defence in early September 2016.
Another interest is comparative studies of representative assemblies and their involvement in so called lesser errands, a research field I hope to contribute to in the future. The judicial roots of many representative assemblies for example, like the English Parliament to take the most famous instance, is often forgotten.
Lastly, I hope to be able to study the study of political and administrative relations between the Swedish realm and its provinces in the northern Holy Roman Empire.