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The Social Impacts of War: Agency and Everyday Life in the Borderlands during the Early Seventeenth Century

Magazine article
Authors Martina Hjertman
Sari Nauman
Maria Vretemark
Gwilym Williams
Anders Kjellin
Published in International Journal of Historical Archaeology
Volume 22
Issue 2
Pages 226-244
ISSN 1092-7697
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Historical Studies
Pages 226-244
Language en
Keywords Agency, Borderlands, Identity, Migration, Social impacts, Sweden, War
Subject categories History and Archaeology


In this paper, we address some of the social impacts of war, including issues of negotiating identity during displacement caused by war. What it meant to be Swedish or Danish-Norwegian in a town where there was a not insubstantial population of foreign merchants would clearly be an ambiguous situation. Burghers were elected by fellow citizens, who were themselves from other parts of Sweden, Scandinavia, and Northern Europe, including Germany, Holland, England, and Scotland. Allegiances were contingent, and in many cases among aliens probably more local than national. The social impacts of war in modern-day west Sweden extended beyond the towns directly affected, such as Nya Lödöse and Ny Varberg. The degree to which individuals could act with agency and autonomy was contingent and context-specific. Forced migration and the negotiation of identity are issues that remain relevant today; questions of memory, property, trauma, history, and narratives are still debated by combatants and non-combatants. Many of the issues which both civilians and military men and women experienced in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century wars between Sweden and Denmark-Norway are much the same as in more recent times. The social impacts of war in the seventeenth century were no less than those experienced in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

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