“Popular justice” can be roughly defined as “the exercise of justice by the people”. The institutions and practices pertaining to this form of justice vary widely across time and geographical space. The 18th and 19th centuries constitute a key historical period for the transition to popular justice in Europe. On the one hand, many long-standing practices (“ducking”, “Rügegerichte”) were progressively called into question. On the other hand, the democratization of European societies and the progressive advent of political liberalism helped bring about the emergence of an institutionalized popular justice with the establishment of institutions such as the justice of the peace and the jury. The legitimacy of popular justice remained nonetheless weak due to the government’s fear of losing control and regal powers. Its establishment further depended on the degree of modernisation of the States, which for the most part remained firmly anchored in the Ancien Régime. Despite the importance of popular justice during the 18th and 19th centuries, scholars have largely ignored this field of research or have limited their study to a national perspective. The very definition of popular justice remains vague and requires further conceptual analyses. This book offers a comparative overview of the history of popular justice in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and England and sets the foundations for future research.
Cette publication est issue du colloque "junior"
La justice populaire dans l’Europe du Sattelzeit, 1750-1870. Approches historiographiques et perspectives de recherche