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date: 20 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay reflects on the relationship between the history of crime, the history of criminal justice, and the history of criminal law. It suggests an account of the historical-comparative analysis of criminal law that locates it within the general project of critical analysis of law and police on the one hand, and a rich multidisciplinary historiography of crime on the other hand. There are as many histories of crime as there concepts of crime. As a social phenomenon, social historians are interested; law may figure into these histories as one factor in constructing the social environment of crime. Social histories ought not to preclude other perspectives, such as moral, cultural, and political histories. Ideally, histories of crime will come from various perspectives, but with clearly defined tools of analysis, and will complement one another to generate a nuanced and contextual kind of historical inquiry.

Keywords: history of crime, history of criminal law, critical analysis of law, new historical jurisprudence, historical inquiry

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