Legal History

The objective of legal history research is to create an understanding of current rules and debates, and thereby a basis for discussion. The changes in legal norms, institutions, and perspectives are here associated with other social and cultural factors.

The ambition is that legal history shall be relevant to research and education regarding topics within positive law, that is to say, it shall deal with subjects which have their point of departure in studies of applicable law. The research is combined with elements from various disciplines such as history, sociology, political science, and pedagogy – among other things “law and society” – and concerns principally the period after 1850.

The Swedish model's points of contact with older legal thinking, as well as with foreign legal systems, have attracted growing interest. The research encompasses a variety of relevant contemporary issues such as: integration, freedom of speech, Sami rights, child labor, copyright, law and religion, reactions to youth crimes, and work regulations. Other important research areas are jurisprudence, legal research, and legal method.

The Swedish EU-membership as well as the multicultural society increases the significance of the subject’s comparative dimensions. The researchers here have ongoing collaborations within international networks and with research centers.

Current research

In a current project, trademark and design rights are discussed in relation to the history of the copyright. The point of departure is in the ideologies and strategies of Swedish, Italian and French fashion houses. Another project focuses on how administrative law emerged as an independent jurisprudential discipline. It analyses how the new academic profession developed its self-knowledge, the relationship between law and politics, and the relationship between national characteristics and the European legal community. Another study examines the integration of Swedish legal values into the schools’ organization and teaching.


Marianne Dahlén


Uppsala Centre for Business History
Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte
Utbildningsvetenskapliga och pedagogiska institutionerna (SU)
Center for the Study of Law & Society, Berkeley Law School
Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi


Research Projects