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Crime and Punishment

Term 3, Week 3 (Lecture 19 and Seminar 15)

Seminar questions

  • To what extent were crime and punishment modernized over the course of the nineteenth century?
  • Had the criminal justice system become more "enlightened" by the end of the century?
  • How did medical ideas about degneration and heredity influence perceptions of crime?
  • What was the link, if any, between urban growth and crime?
  • How did doctors and medical experts account for female criminality?

Core reading:

  • B Ratcliffe ‘Classes dangereuses à Paris’ : The Chevalier Thesis Re-examined' French Historical Studies 17/2 (1991), 542-74
  • A Parella ‘Industrialisation and Murder: Northern France 1815-1914’ Journal of Interdisciplinary History 22:4 ( 1992) 627-54

  • R Harris ‘Melodrama , Hysteria and Feminine Crimes of Passion in the Fin-de-Siècle’, History Workshop Journal 25:1 (1988), 31-63

Further reading:


  • R Lévy Crime, the Judicial System and Punishment in Modern France in C Emsley/ L Knaflea (eds) Crime History and Histories of Crime (1996)

  • B Martin Crime and Criminal Justice under the Third Republic

  • Magraw, France, 1800-1914 (2002) ch 7

  • H Zehr Crime and the Development of Modern Society

  • H Zehr The Modernisation of Crime in Germany and France JSocH1985

  • J Merriman The Margins of City Life (1991)

  • J Merriman, Police Stories: Building the French State 1815-1851 (2006)

  • D Kalifa, ‘Crime Scenes: Criminal Topography and Social Imaginary in Nineteenth Century Paris,’ French Historical Studies 27 (2004), 175-94

  • L Chevalier The Criminal and Dangerous Classes in Paris 1800-50

  • C Tilly/ A Lodhi Urbanisation , Crime and Collective Violence in 19th-Century France AJS 1973

  • G Rudé Cities and Popular Revolt: Paris 1750-1850 in J Bosher (ed) French Government and Society

  • R Tombs Crime and the Security of the State: the ‘Dangerous Classes’ and Insurrection in 19th-Century Paris in V Gatrell/ B Lenman/G Parker (eds) Crime and the Law

  • B Ratcliffe ‘Classes dangereuses à Paris’ : the Chevalier Thesis Re-examined FHS 1991

  • V Bailey The fabrication of deviance : ‘Dangerous and Criminal Classes’ in Victorian England in J Rule (ed) Protest and Survival (1993)

  • J Donovan The Uprooting Theory of crime and the Corsicans of Marseille FHS 1984

  • J Donovan Justice and Sexuality in Marseille 1825-85 JSocH1987

  • F Johnson French criminality: urban/rural differences in the 19th-Century JIH 1982

  • A Corbin Village of the Cannibals: Rage and Murder in France, 1870 (1992)

  • A Freundschuh, ‘“New Sport” in the Street: Self-Defence, Security and Space in Belle Epoque Paris,’ French History 20:4 (2006)

Women and Crime
  • R Harris Murders and Madness; Medicine , Law and Society in Fin-de-Siècle France (1989)

  • A-L Shapiro Breaking the Codes: Female criminality in Fin-de-Siècle Paris (1996)

  • J Harsin ‘Gender, Class and Madness in 19th-Century France’ FHS 1992

  • P O’Brien The Kleptomania Diagnosis: Bourgeois Women and Theft JSocH 1983

  • J Guillais Crimes of Passion: Dramas of private life in 19th-century France

  • B Dijkstra, Idols of Peversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siecle Culture (1986)

The Penal System and Policing
  • G Wright Between the Guillotine and Liberty

  • M Foucault Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison

  • P O’Brien The Promise of Punishment

  • M Donovan Justice Unblind : the Juries and the criminal classes in France 1825-1914 JSocH 1981

  • M Donovan Infanticide and Juries in France: 1825-85 JMH 1991

  • B Weinberger/ C Emsley (eds) Policing Western Europe

  • C Emsley Gendarmes and the State in 19th-century Europe (1999)

Criminology and discourses on crime
  • P O’Brien Crime and Punishment as an Historical Problem JSocH 1978

  • R Nye Crime in Modern Societies JSocH 1978

  • R Nye Crime , Madness and Politics in Modern France (1984)

  • D Pick Faces of Degeneration