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Title: Cracking cribs : representations of burglars and burglary in London, 1860-1939
Author: Moss, Eloise
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 6850
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores how burglars and burglary in London were understood in cultural, criminological, legal, political, and economic discourse during the period 1860-1939, demonstrating how the ideas about crime and the criminal circulating in these domains were mutually constitutive. Specifically, it identifies how characterisations of burglary in visual and written forms of media — encompassing legal and criminological documents, as well as those produced by the press and commercial advertising, and in fiction, theatre, and film — cultivated a range of attitudes towards the crime to a greater or lesser extent. Encompassing not only fear-mongering and sympathetic representations, but also those designed to be exciting, to challenge preconceptions, and to entertain, I argue that these conflicting attitudes towards burglary and burglars emerged in response to specific changes in the cultural landscape: the advent of mass literacy and corresponding interest in narratives of crime that reflected the social, cultural, and political concerns of an audience diverse of class, age, and gender; the commercial imperatives of the insurance and entertainment industries as the middle classes expanded, including the development of household insurance and the popularity of the ‘true crime’ genre; debates surrounding women’s increasing social and sexual agency and their alignment with particular crimes; and the evolution of new modes of policing and regulation. The thesis thereby uses the topic of burglary to illuminate a broader range of contemporary preoccupations and experiences with gender relations, class structures and stereotypes, and the moral authority of state and society. By approaching burglary as a focus of interactions not only between police, criminal, and victim, but also between the market, consumers, and the state, this thesis uncovers new terrain upon which crime intersected with everyday lives historically.
Supervisor: Houlbrook, Matt Sponsor: AHRC ; University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Visual art and representation ; Drawing & decorative arts ; History ; Economic and Social History ; Modern Britain and Europe ; Intellectual History ; History of technology ; Psychology ; Emotion ; Law ; Criminology ; Journalism (political science) ; Gender ; Households ; National identity ; burglary ; crime ; culture ; London ; Britain