Fortunas klädnader : lycka, olycka och risk i det tidigmoderna Sverige


Summary, in Swedish

Fortuna’s Guises: Fortune, Misfortune, and Risk in Early Modern Sweden.

This dissertation explores learned conceptions of uncertainty and risk during the period stretching approximately between 1560 and 1720. Previous historical overviews of the ideas about risk hold that pre-industrial societies viewed all worldly happenings as emanations of God’s will or other forces lying beyond human control. This viewpoint is scrutinized and called into question in the dissertation through an examination of early modern Swedish sources. In order to show how earthly uncertainty was conceptualized documents dealing with actual calamities are analyzed. Particular attention is paid to documents that portray man as being subjected to forces beyond his control. In early modern Sweden the questions of causality and responsibility were continuously debated according to the interests and perspectives of differing actors. The same type of occurrence could be given very different – even contradictory – interpretations. E.g. shipwrecks could be viewed as divine punishments, warnings, trials, miraculous deliverances, divine secrets, omens of coming events, or quite simply human errors. The concrete rhetorical situation determined which of them was put to use. In practical planning explanations based on God’s intentions played no direct role. In a worldly perspective, fortuna was seen as a challenge that individuals were compelled to overcome by means of knowledge and virtue. Taken together, the texts serve to paint a portrait of a moral universe in which worldly events reflect the will of God, yet without relieving man of responsibility for his actions.


  • Cultural Studies


  • early modern history
  • history of risk management
  • intellectual history
  • history of emotions
  • history of rhetoric





  • ISBN: 978-91-85767-84-7


22 oktober 2011




Institutionen för kulturvetenskaper, Biskopsgatan 7, Lund, sal 201