The project "Nordic Homicide from Past to Present" examines the patterns of homicide on two axes of comparison: over time, and between countries. Patterns of homicide include, for instance, the gender, age and social status of the victims and offenders, as well as the contexts and motivations of lethal violence. We measure these at the level of individuals and incidents across the long duration of historical time in Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden. The project develops and deploys a standardized coding manual for historical homicide, the Historical Homicide Monitor (HHM). While sensitive to historical variation, the emerging instrument will remain compatible with key modern systems of homicide classification.
Our data will allow us to examine empirically important theoretical aspects of historical social science criminology. Relevant sources of theoretical inspiration include the theory of the civilizing process, and strain theoretical traditions focusing on the link between violence and social disadvantage.
This high gain & high risk project can be seen as a pilot project exploring the feasibility of individual-level homicide comparison in the long historical duration. The project brings together an interdisciplinary team of historians and criminologists for a concerted effort to tackle fundamental theoretical questions in the domain of human violence. Directed by professor Janne Kivivuori, University of Helsinki, the team includes researchers from the universities of Aarhus, Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Stockholm and Uppsala, with participation also from the Danish Ministry of Justice, Iceland's National Commission of the Police, and Reykjavik Metropolitan Police. The project is funded by the Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology.