To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
In Chapter 4 we tell the story of how identity conflicts were first mobilised into electoral politics during the first wave of migration to Britain after the Second World War. This period of British history is rarely mentioned in conjunction with our decision to leave the EU in 2016, but it is critical for understanding more recent identity conflicts. The first wave of sustained mass migration was the first demonstration of the disruptive power of such conflicts, producing a wave of ethnocentric voter mobilisation which upended political competition and has continued to reverberate in debates over multiculturalism, discrimination and identity ever since. The new political conflicts generated more recently by another surge in immigration have interacted with, and sometimes reinforced, these older divisions. The paths followed by Labour and the Conservatives on such issues were first traced out in this period, with Labour establishing themselves as defenders of ethnic minorities, and the Conservative choosing to mobilise anti-immigrant sentiments in the white majority. We cannot understand the identity conflicts mobilised by Cameron, May and Farage without first understanding the era of Heath, Powell and Thatcher.
Not every investigation into Nazi criminality resulted in a prosecution, much less a conviction. This chapter tells the story of one case that failed to make it to trial. Taking a micro-history approach, the chapter examines the murder of an individual Jew, Dr. Hans Hannemann, in Berlin in the closing days of World War II. Hannemann was killed after being turned over to the SS by a group of local civilians, who appear to have been motivated by anti-Semitic beliefs and the fear that he could be a Russian spy. After the war, local authorities launched an investigation into his death. Despite compiling considerable evidence that various local individuals were implicated in Hannemann’s murder, the prosecutor in the case, Wilhelm Kühnast, dropped the charges on the grounds that “so much time had passed” since the killing. This resulted in a modest political scandal, and Kühnast was arrested by the Soviets, under pressure from East German communists. He subsequently escaped to West Berlin and resumed his life. The Kühnast scandal shows how East German communists used Nazi trials as a litmus test for political reliability and also how the Cold War poisoned the prospects for justice in many Nazi cases.
Chapter 5 uses legal records to describe the shape of crime in the postwar East Central State – the core of the former Biafra and the last region to fall to Nigeria – where poverty, unemployment, and a variety of social and political ills caused by the war conspired to make everyday life in the 1970s very violent and precarious.
People believed to be witches have been killed in many parts of Africa since precolonial times. Belief in witchcraft persists today among many people, occasionally resulting in the killing of the suspected witch. The killer views witchcraft as an attack similar in nature to the use of physical force and therefore kills the witch in an attempt to end the perceived attack. As it stands today, the law in Uganda fails to strike a balance between the rights of the deceased victim violated through murder and those of the accused who honestly believes that he or she or a loved one was a victim of witchcraft. This article argues that the defenses that are currently available—mistake of fact, self-defense, insanity, and provocation by witchcraft—are insufficient, as they fail to strike that delicate balance. A more pragmatic approach to the issue of witch-killing, one that deals with the elimination of belief in witchcraft, is necessary.
Marital infidelity was not uncommon in the period covered in this book. Nor was it, for much of the time, a hidden or concealed crime. Newspapers regularly reported on bigamy, criminal conversation, divorce and desertion cases that came before the Irish courts and often involved adulterous behaviour. It is impossible to know how extensive extra-marital sexual behaviour was in any period. In this chapter we explore the attitudes expressed towards adulterous behaviour and couples who cohabited without marrying, how such behaviour reflected upon marital relationships and what it says more generally about sexuality in Irish society. Printed reports and newspaper accounts of trials for criminal conversation were an important medium through which the public became aware of adulterous affairs. This chapter reveals the level of non-conformity that existed in sexual matters amongst individuals and couples over a long time period. Sexual non-conformity can be viewed for instance, in cohabitation, adultery, the keeping of mistresses, and the advantage taken of women servants in households. By the end of the nineteenth century, both the Church and the law increasingly oversaw the implementation of sexual norms in society and perpetuated ideals for male and female sexual behaviour.
This chapter explores the contexts of spousal violence, and considers the evolution of the legal discourses and judicial practices around this issue, and examines what this violence tells us about power, control and intimacy within marriages. It was widely believed in the nineteenth century that spousal assault was rare in Ireland, while it was thought to be a common practice in England. In the evolution of Irish national identity in post-Famine Ireland such beliefs distinguished the Irish from the English. Irish men were held to be morally superior to English men. But such beliefs were unfounded. More husbands abused and killed their wives, than wives did husbands. Husbands used their wives’ behaviour, their disobedience, intemperance, infidelity, lack of female virtue, inadequate fortunes, as excuses for causing a turn to violence or their wives’ deaths. Verbal and physical conflicts, could in the context of alcohol, spiral out of control. Money and property were also the causes of violence, as was the distribution of household resources. Some women feared the loss of their homes and other property and killed to protect their interests. Certain acts of violence were judged legitimate when particular contexts were taken into consideration. A drunken wife or a brutish and violent husband could, for example, see murder charges being reduced to manslaughter charges.
Chapter 3 examines Grant Allen’s fictions of criminal deceit, contending that they were shaped by his ideas about adaptive appearance. As a science populariser, Allen wrote repeatedly about the evolutionary dynamics of animal crypsis and advertisement. His crime tales often echo these dynamics as criminals’ deceptions compete with others’ detecting capacities. It is argued that, in tales such as ‘The Curate of Churnside’, Allen’s Darwinian view of deception clashes with the conventions of the sensation genre he was writing in. The genre tended to affirm a balance of cosmic justice in which criminals were usually exposed, if not punished. Conversely, Allen’s criminals often elude detection, having adapted perfectly to their environments. Allen did not present humans as simply equivalent to animals, though. He nurtured the hope that humanity would one day transcend nature’s primitive economy of deception. His novel An African Millionaire depicts criminal deception as a product of dysfunctional capitalism to be superseded by science and socialism. This political utopianism was offset for Allen, however, by a social Darwinist pessimism that caused him to doubt humans’ ability to overcome egoistic deceit. Indeed, Allen sometimes regarded his work as a professional writer as part of capitalism’s recapitulation of nature’s deceptions.
More than seventy years after the end of the Second World War, atrocities committed under the National Socialist regime still continue to occupy the courts in Germany. The recent case of Oscar Gröning raised a number of highly relevant legal issues, particularly with regard to the degree of participation in criminal offenses in general, and more specifically, with regard to the possible level of criminal liability of individuals who, as part of a large-scale “killing machinery”, were acting under the command of superiors and, as such, not directly involved in the acts of homicide which were perpetrated. Different theories pertaining to the level of participation are analyzed, and the German Federal Court’s decision in the Gröning case is dealt with in detail.
Chapter 9 begins Part IV of the book, which analyses violence as a problem of impurity. This chapter focuses on what the grammar of impurity enabled biblical writers to say about the affront of violence. It draws on the ritual insights of Catherine Bell (via William Gilders), the metaphor theory insights of Joseph Lam, and the cognitive research of Thomas Kazen and Richard Beck. Psalm 106 describes the impure consequences of ‘mixing’ with the nations that Israel failed to expel from the land. Practices like child sacrifice polluted the land and people, and led to exile. Bloodshed, in this poetic retelling, disintegrated the sacred order that bound together Yhwh, the people, and the land. Isaiah 1 insists that entrance into Yhwh’s presence demanded social as well as ritual purity, and even suggests social means of ‘purifying’ from bloodshed. Lamentations 4 attributes exile to the bloodshed in the ‘midst’ of Jerusalem, and describes the people as those defiled among the nations. For Ezekiel, bloodshed was an affront to Yhwh’s name and sanctity in the land. Finally, according to Numbers 35, blood from homicides polluted the land. As such, it was a threat to the ongoing presence of Yhwh in the land.
Chapter 7 analyses legal portrayals of the problem of violence, using the Deuteronomic Code as a case study. Deuteronomy focuses on ‘bloodshed’ (using דם) and its legal and communal consequences. Violence threatens relationships between households in Israel, hence its emphasis on males. But it also creates a problem for the community and its relationship to the land. Deuteronomy communicates that the problem of blood ‘in your midst’ (בקרבך) needs to be ‘expelled’ through judicial processes. The land is always a third party to violent crimes in Deuteronomy. Laws pertaining to refuge cities (Deut 19:1-13), the ‘violent witness’ (19:15-21), unknown perpetrators (Deut 21:1-9), the hanging corpse (21:22-23), and sexual violence (Deut 22:25-27) each reflect a concern to expel violence from the whole community of Israel, and in so doing, from the land. Violence, and the outcry it elicited, signalled the breakdown in the relationships constitutive of a just society, and demanded legal resolution. This is why, at times, the term חמס stands in for a range of potential judicial infractions.
This chapter deals with homicide and serious interpersonal violence in modern Europe, comparing this with the rest of the world for as much as the evidence allows. It focuses, but not exclusively, on male-on-male violence. This is discussed for three subperiods: 1800-1914, 1920-1970, 1970-present. More is known about the global context as we approach the present. In Europe homicide ceased to be a day-to-day affair in urban and rural communities, so that the remaining acts of murder assumed the character of sinister or sensational exceptions. In this connection, the phenomena of serial murder and the underworld are discussed. For the non-Western world, the evidence remains patchy and fragmented up to 1970. Traditional male honor remained important and affected interpersonal violence in independent Latin America as well as Colonial India and Indonesia. Dueling was rather prevalent among European men in colonial societies. The chapter concludes with a tentative thesis that we can speak of a world history of violence since about 1970, under the influence of globalization. International organized crime was a major factor in this.
This chapter discusses the growth of military systems in Western Europe during the period from 1460 to 1560, the preliminary stage of what has often, controversially, been called the ‘military revolution’. The main characteristics of military violence generated by dynastic wars were the inexorable growth of armies and the problems of pay and supply which accompanied this. Military technology affected both the nature and duration of wars: artillery came to dominate both in siege warfare, naval warfare and on the open battlefield. The lives of professional soldiers were drastically affected by new forms of trauma and medical treatment remained rudimentary. At the same time, the relations between soldiery and civilians continued to be conflictual, especially in war zones. Endemic violence accompanied any war. The features specific to this period combine a more intensive kind of violence brought about by changes in military technology and the scale of war with a broadly dysfunctional control system. This meant that the larger armies and more destructive campaign had an impact of casualties and losses among the soldiery as well as a chaotic impact on the ‘civilian’ population, though the patterns of ‘collateral’ violence remained much the same as they had been for centuries.
Just how violent was medieval Europe? Traditionally, historians have depicted the Middle Ages as an era of brute strength and underdeveloped empathy, leading to high rates of violence. Yet, the evidence to support this interpretation is highly flawed. While we cannot measure medieval rates of violence with enough accuracy to draw medieval-modern comparisons, we do know that medieval Europeans deemed some forms of violence as not only necessary, but laudable. God’s wrath was the archetype of principled violence wielded by a righteous authority. Spectacles of justice in the form of staged executions, shaming rituals, or torture procedures, when enacted by the church or the state, fell neatly in line with this view of violence as a purgative, removing sin from society before it infected others. This ideology was imposed also on the family, where communities urged patriarchs to govern their dependents with a firm hand. Nevertheless, violence also had its limits. As king in his own home, a patriarch’s conduct might still cross the line between chastisement and cruelty. The law generally sided with figures of authority, but in practice the courts protected both ends of the social and familial hierarchy from abuse.
Suicide is a neologism. First conceived in 1643 by Baconian polymath Sir Thomas Browne, it gradually entered enlightened parlance, universalised by Hume’s On Suicide. Previously, richly descriptive and differentiated depictions of the paradox of self-killing permeated the globe. Current research suggests a stronger fixation with self-killing in the West. Condemned by medieval theologians as the sin of despair, alternate tropes appeared during the Renaissance as humanists reintroduced classical models of toleration. Painters elevated Lucretia to the icon of Republican resistance. By the seventeenth century enlightened rationalism had emboldened John Donne to compare Christ’s passion to suicide. Nevertheless, popular culture and the authorities continued to punish the crime of self-murder harshly. Current research allows comparisons with Asia. In Japan, acceptance of seppuku and shinjū contrasted with condemnation for self-sacrifices by Christian converts. In India, Western observers alternately wondered naively at widow burnings (sati) or questioned their consensual nature. In Qing China, a cult of pious widows who killed themselves to avoid forced remarriage gained such popularity that the emperor introduced laws to moderate the proliferation of memorials. Ultimately, the interpretation of self-killing reveals much more about cultural values than it does about the state of mind of individuals performing the violent act.
Violence emerges many times in medieval literature, either in the form of war or of personal violence. This paper examines a selection of narratives where various types of domestic violence and criminal activities leading to or based on violence are presented. Against the backdrop of an intensive theological and philosophical discourse on violence from St. Augustine to Thomas Aquinas, this chapter investigates violence in the private spheres of married couples (Marie de France), in the public sphere of the court to eliminate a threatening outsider (Nibelungenlied), within the family, pitting a mother-in-law against her daughter in law (Mai und Beaflor), which ultimately leads to matricide, then among friends and relatives (Boccaccio’s Decameron), and finally violence in the name of personal self-defence (Heinrich Kaufringer). As the analysis demonstrates, violence was ubiquitous in medieval society, but the poets always reflect also on legal conditions, the threat to society at large resulting from violence, and on the position of the individual when confronted with violence.
The Williams’ gang slaves illustrate the long history of wrongful convictions of defendants of color in US courtrooms as well as the compatibility of slavery with incarceration. Still, it was not until the demise of slavery as an institution that black and brown people became a majority of those incarcerated. That trend continues to the present. The latest innovation in the long history of racism and the carceral state is the emergence of private, for–profit prisons and the prison–industrial complex. Much like the domestic slave trade of another time, captives of color are redistributed to locations where their labor is in highest demand for the profits of others. But already by the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the historical memory of the internal slave trade was growing dim, the rich history of slavery in the very capital of the United States forgotten.
This article examines how Lord Coleridge's Victorian experiences and Christian mindset played a prominent and persuasive role in the formulation of his judgment in R v Dudley and Stephens. Notwithstanding efforts to act impartially and objectively, we are all beholden, often unconsciously, to the biases and beliefs permeating the society in which we live. Coleridge was no exception, being a composite of influences: family and educational backgrounds, religious beliefs, personal encounters and societal norms. These prejudices sharpen into focus with the benefit of distant hindsight. An associated challenge is the present difficulty faced when interpreting old judgments in which allusions are made to concepts that no longer resonate in the modern world. Finally, we are left to ponder our own predicament: what are the biases that present-day jurists unconsciously possess, how do they influence the formulation of judgments and how will they be understood in a future age?
McEwan’s first three books, the short story collections First Love, Last Rites (1975) and In Between the Sheets (1978), and a first novel, The Cement Garden (1978), made him notorious as the author of fictions preoccupied with violence and deviant sexuality. A second longer work, The Comfort of Strangers (1981), similarly features murder and sadomasochistic sex, and all of these works display a closed-in quality that the author later professed to find puzzling. This chapter considers the critical impact of this work, but also its relation to 1970s Britain, its context of production. The work’s focus on adolescent stasis and its several references to the early postwar years reference the political stalemates of the era and the demise of the collective mindset of the early postwar period. These contexts, it is argued, provide an under-recognized frame of reference for the early fiction, in particular its backward-looking helplessness and quotidian ennui.
A scenario well known to Beowulf scholars alleges that after Beowulf has slain the monsters and gone home, Hrothulf, nephew of the Danish king Hrothgar, will murder prince Hrethric to gain the throne when the old king dies. This story, that many Anglo-Saxonists assume is integral to the ancient legend of these kings, is a modern misreading of the poet's allusions to events associated with the Scylding dynasty — a legendary history that the poet arguably takes care to follow. The present essay, in two parts, first shows how the idea of Hrothulf's treachery arose and became canonical under the influence of prestigious English and American scholars, then finds fault with this idea, refuting its “proof” from Saxo Grammaticus and showing how some Anglo-Saxonists have doubted that Beowulf supports an interpretation making Hrothulf a murderer. But when the poet's allusions to future treachery are ambiguous, at least for modern readers, in order to exonerate Hrothulf fully one must go to traditions about the Scylding dynasty outside the poem. Scandinavian regnal lists (including one that Saxo himself incorporates) consistently contradict the event the Saxo passage has been used to prove, as they agree on a sequence of Scylding rulers with names corresponding to those of persons in Beowulf. Attention to this traditional sequence exposes Hrothulf's murder of Hrethric as a logical impossibility. Moreover, the early medieval method of selecting rulers suggests that neither did Hrothulf usurp the throne of Denmark. In sum, careful scrutiny of the best Scandinavian evidence and rejection of the worst reveals Beowulf's “treacherous Hrothulf” to be a scholarly fantasy.
War experiences are a material of political currency, invoked, appropriated, and ‘written’ in particular configurations to sustain, complicate, and contest narratives about war. This occurs through and within the same relations of power that are intrinsic to the conduct of war as war-experiencing subjects comprise a political vocabulary of selves and others that populate and operate within war’s wider social (re)production. To track these power relations and consider implications for how dominant accounts of war can be complicated and contested, the article is grounded in an analysis of the visual regimes at work in footage, photographs, and testimony relating to the shooting of a group of people by an American Apache helicopter in Baghdad, Iraq in 2007. The event was publicised on a dedicated website and dubbed ‘Collateral Murder’ by WikiLeaks in 2010. Analysis of the website reveals how visual modes and the experiences of war subjects accompany each other, revealing war in contrasting locations of sight and violence: the ‘view from above’, the ‘view from below’, and the view of the ‘on-the-ground’ soldier eyewitness. Taken together these discursively produce ‘Collateral Murder’ and contest the dominance of war known through the experience of those who wage it ‘from above’.