Crime and Society in Twentieth Century England: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Crime and Society in Twentieth Century England

1st Edition

By Clive Emsley


256 pages

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Crime and Society in Twentieth-Century England traces the broad pattern of criminal offending over a hundred year period that experienced unprecedented levels of upheaval and change. This period included two world wars, the end of the British Empire, significant shifts in both gender relations and ethnic mix and a decline in the power of the economy.

In this new textbook, Professor Clive Emsley provides an up-to-date assessment of changes in attitudes to crime as well as of the developments in policing, in the courts and in penal sanctions over the course of the century. He explores the impact of growing gender equality and ethnic diversity on crime and criminal justice, and looks at the way in which crime became increasingly central to political agendas in the last third of the century.

Written in a clear and accessible manner, the book examines:

Perceptions of crime and criminality across the century

Varieties of offending from murder to benefit fraud

The role of the media in constructing and reinforcing the understanding of crime and the criminal

The decline and demise of corporal and capital punishment

The shift from largely progressive to more punitive penal practice

The first serious attempt to explore the history of crime and criminal justice in twentieth-century England, this book will be an invaluable introduction to the student and interested general reader alike.


"There is much to savour here. Crime and Society in Twentieth-Century England provides a very good introduction to the historiography…Emsley points out some of its deficiencies, which should inspire undergraduate dissertations on property crime amongst other things. Like its sister volume, this should become a standard text for courses on crime in modern England and is the ideal accompaniment to Police and Policing in the Twentieth Century." - Mark Roodhouse, University of York

Table of Contents

List of tables and figures. Preface and acknowledgements. Abbreviations used in the notes. Introduction. The Pattern of Crime. Criminal Lives. Crime and the Young. Organised Crime: Professional Criminals. Media Narratives. Expert Narratives. Police and Policing. The Courts. Penal Policy and Penal Experience. Some Conclusions.Further Reading: Further Research. Index.

About the Author

Clive Emsley is Emeritus Professor of History at the Open University. Author of Crime and Society in England 1750–1900, now in its fourth edition, his recent publications also include Hard Men: Violence in England since 1750 (2005), Crime, Police and Penal Policy: European Experiences 1750–1940 (2007), and The Great British Bobby (2009).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain