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Title: Crime and the economy of makeshifts : Kent and Oxfordshire 1830-1885
Author: Ager, Adrian William
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the link between legislative reforms, crime and the makeshift strategies that the poor used to support their households in the Medway basin and rural districts in north Oxfordshire between 1830 and 1885. In short, this thesis considers whether the poor relied on different criminal strategies to maintain their makeshift households in both rural and urban environments. To this end, it examines how the labouring population in the two regions coped with a raft of legislative reforms and the sort of socio-economic changes that occurred over the longer term. This thesis also demonstrates how the technique of Record Linkage can help eliminate some of the problems that arise when data-sets are incomplete or when source documents are missing. To fulfill these objectives, this thesis is divided into eight chapters. The first of these outlines the research questions and definitions that are used throughout this survey. Chapter two engages with the current historiography that relates to the study of crime and poverty in Kent and Oxfordshire in the nineteenth century. It establishes how this thesis improves our understanding of the way that legislative reforms and socio-economic change helped to shape the criminal strategies that the labouring poor utilised in the two regions, between 1830 and 1885. Chapter three identifies the socio-economic emergence of the Medway basin as an industrial centre and explains why similar changes did not occur in Oxfordshire. The chapters which follow detail how population growth and industrial development affected labour markets and the distribution of welfare in the two regions. In doing so. they establish whether the poor in the two regions were reliant on the proceeds of crime to support their makeshift households. or whether they simply exploited weaknesses in the administration of local government institutions. so that they might improve the state of their household economies. When considered together, this thesis establishes that crime was one of the components that the labouring poor in Kent and Oxfordshire used to support their makeshift economies, when legislative reforms and socio-economic change threatened to undermine the solvency of their households.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available