Criminal Law and Colonial Subject

Overview

This book explores the relationship of a colonial people with English law and looks at the way in which the practice of law developed among the ordinary population. Paula Jane Byrne traces the boundaries among property, sexuality and violence, drawing from court records, dispositions and proceedings. She asks: What did ordinary people understand by guilt, suspicion, evidence and the term "offense"? She illuminates the values and beliefs of the emerging colonial consciousness and the complexity of power relations ...

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Overview

This book explores the relationship of a colonial people with English law and looks at the way in which the practice of law developed among the ordinary population. Paula Jane Byrne traces the boundaries among property, sexuality and violence, drawing from court records, dispositions and proceedings. She asks: What did ordinary people understand by guilt, suspicion, evidence and the term "offense"? She illuminates the values and beliefs of the emerging colonial consciousness and the complexity of power relations in the colony. The book reconstructs the legal process with great tetail and richness and is able to evoke the everyday lives of people in the colonial NSW.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Those who seek historical treatment of crime will surely welcome this book, both because it illuminates a little known area of history and because it is based on primary source material." Nancy Wolfe, The Criminologist

"Her methodology and conclusions should interest a broad spectrum of scholars—legal, social, feminist, and economic historians, sociologists, and anthropologists...the book is as much about method as substance. Just as the author's ideas have relevance for studying criminal law, her methodology also has application to other kinds of legal history...Surely an exposé like Byrnes'...merits a new look at legal history methodology..." Albert J. Schmidt, Journal of Social History

"Byrne achieves a remarkable sense of the local gendering of space, geography, housing, and other colonial Australian sites, as well as an often colorful evocation of the theater and conflicts of male/female interactions in streets, inns, households, workplaces, and courtrooms....The strengths of Byrne's book include the strong grounding of empirical research underlying the readings, analyses, and arguments advanced....[A]n important, innovative, and, above all, gendered contribution to a cultural history of colonial Australian criminal law." Judith Allen, American Historical Review

"The historian of crime can draw on this work for useful information and some insightful analysis." Social History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521522946
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/2003
  • Series: Studies in Australian History Series
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

Author's note; Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; List of figures; List of tables; 1. Introduction; Part I. Law and the Person: 2. Labour; 3. The house; 4. The body; Part II. Offence in the Wilderness: 5. The creation of bushranging; Part III. Suspicious Characters: Police and People: 6. The structure and style of policing; 7. Popular use of law; Part IV. The Court Room: 8. Deciding what was good and bad; 9. Conclusion; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

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