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Article

Emotional Environments and Legal Spaces in Early Modern Russia

This article follows the “return of emotions” within the scholarship on law and criminal justice, one of the most promising methodological and conceptual innovations to emerge during the last two decades. The article discusses the possibilities of applying an environmental approach to emotional management using trials of the abuse of parents from early modern Russia. Through a close analysis of trial narratives, I develop the notion of emotional environment to contextualize trials within a cultural and physical setting constructed by the specific way emotions are communicated in order to influence the legal outcomes of the trial. It is argued here that early modern court narratives (and their creators) used an environmental approach to emotional management. They focused on the creation of the specific cultural and physical settings to externalize their emotions for successful mediation of their conflicts. These settings emerged as a result of the interplay of individuals and their surroundings, including natural, social, built, learning and informational environments that provided a specific way in which emotions were consumed by individuals and collectives.