HIST 3130 Lecture Notes - Metropolitan Police Service, Bsc Young Boys, Major Trauma
237 views21 pages
Punishment and Popular Culture
Lecture 1: Early Modern Popular Culture
Cultural history goes further, it attempts to reconstruct mentality and worldview and has major impact on the way we
understand crime in the past. Major forces impacting the way society is constructed and understands the world around
1500, beginning of the early modern period. The social and political fabric was being torn apart by shifts in religion,
etc. things are changing incredibly quickly.
In 1455, Johann Gutenberg produced the Gutenberg bible using his movable type printing press. The printing press
revolutionized ideas. Before this period, writing out copies of texts produced text and this was expensive. It now could
be produced more cheaply and was more accessible to people. The spread of literacy and the spread of ideas.
Early 16th century. Reformation
- In 1517 Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses. Peasants in Germany were revolting by the early 1520‟s
by demands for social reform. Happened because people had access to texts that changed the way they
looked at the world. In England, the Reformation progresses through parliamentary in the 1530‟s. The issues
of the English Reformation were partially resolved by the Elizabethan Settlement established by Elizabeth I.
(e. 15557-1603). Partially catholic and partially protestant. The reformation contributed a lingering and
virulent anti-Catholicism, and a developing sense of national identity and the English saw themselves as
The Wars of Religion
- The Reformation split Europe between Protestant and Catholic. This was solidified by Catholic Reformation
(or counter reformation). Religious fervour led to violence, particularly in France, where the Wars of
Religion raged from 1562 to 1598.
- The Witch crazy was at its height between 1550 and 1650. 100 000 Witches and 60 000 were executed. The
crazy for apprehending witches was spurred by massive religious.
The 17th Century had lots of conflict.
The English Civil War
- They wanted every man to have a vote. And this soon encompassed the entire population. Important because
it introduced all these issues. By the end of the 17th century, England resolved its issues.
- Most of 18th century, England- Britain, was filled of conflict and war.
Assaults on Popular Culture
- Rise of the middle class, during this period increased number of people falling in this culture because of
industrialization and agricultural changes.
- This agricultural culture practice is changing. Right to farm strips of communal land. Landowners look at
the benefits of their own land; peasants were prohibited from farming on their land. Short term it moved
many people off the land and people drifting into the cities and into a life of crime and this as an impact of
criminality in the cities
- Stimulating population growth and encouraging this, developing institutions to protect young children to
ensure they would reach adulthood (time when 1/3 children dying), this to improve the population. But there
was a shift in this because the population began to outstrip what is available in terms of resources
Industrial Revolution 1760-1830
- An economic triumph or disaster. Traditionally to preform a wide set of tasks, and industrialization made
people the great machine- part of a factory system, not doing a whole thing but just working on one small
part of the larger machine. Workers and employers became cold and factory like. People followed a clock
when working and previous this, when they felt like stopping people would stop working. In the factory a
sense of class-consciousness began. Young women- factory work became liberating, freedom outside the
household. For some it increased wages but for others including children- child labour, this was dangerous.
Children expected to work long hours and bad conditions.
- Population exploded and expanded and had a massive impact on society. Most of what you did in the city
was liberating, you could be anonymous in the city and not being watched over by the local town and family.
And this created criminals because freer to commit crimes without fear of retribution
Enlightenment and Sensibility
- Period where development emerged: Cult of sensibility. Development of mass consumption- not polite to
accumulate wealth but not considered polite to admit to it so cult of sensibility allowed for people to
negotiate these issues. Cult of sensibility raises the gap between the acceptable and non-acceptable.
Obsession with politeness- promoted politeness and shocked by crime and crimes cultivate their senses
Part Two: Establishing Order
Law and Order- 18th-19th century.
- Patronage and knowing the right people was the key to success. Dominated by few men, no women.
- Majority of the English population had no representation in parliament. Called for the reform act to enable
more men to be able to vote and clean up the electoral system. Wanted to weed out a lot of the corruption in
- Early modern people based their ideas of society on micropausian and macro… A period where being a child
was not something to be jealous over. Children were overworked and beaten. Your house was a school to
your life. Where you learned rules and respect etc. The parish was where you went to receive relief and aid.
Riot and Rebellion
- 1780- riots had been called the most violent, in the 18th century; Catholics suffered under the penal laws-
from owning property and stopped them from gaining power. And the appeal to remove these laws was
Lecture 2: Torture and Execution
Crime is fundamentally rooted in the body- commits the crime and often committed on a body then the body is often
punished for the crime and thus crime and the body are intertwined. The body is a metaphor for the body as a whole. We
safeguard the collective body; it‟s a utilitarian way and serves us for crime in the 18th and 19th century.
The last execution in Canada occurred in 1962.
Two minutes after midnight on Dec. 11, 1962, Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin became the last people to be executed in
- Convicted of killing a police officer- Turpin. Told at the time of their execution they were the last ones to be
executed in Canada.
710 people were executed in Canada between 1859 and 1962.
In 1976 capital punishment was officially abolished in Canada.
Early modern executions served multiple purposes:
1) Exercise in punishment
2) A deterrent to future crime
3) An educational lesson
These executions also occurred in public. The witnesses were just as crucial to the process as the convicted criminal and
Public executions placed the body of the criminal at the center of a multi-faceted spectacle.
- They spoke to the participants- more then the ending of the life of the criminal, they were pageants. They were
events, which the criminal had a role to play as the accused, and witnesses had a role to play.
The spectacle of execution changed over the 18th and 19th centuries as the public procession of the criminal to the noose
was replaced by a private ceremony.
- There was no police force back then, so having law and order depended on the executions and torture.
- Executions were public and then gradually progressed from being a large spectacle to becoming something private
By the 18th century, nearly 200 crimes warranted the death penalty.
These laws became known as the “Bloody Code.” Fortunately for criminals, the Bloody Code was never fully
- Justice felt the punishment of execution was too harsh so changed to imprisonment or transportation
- The bloody code- the punishment exceeded the crime itself. Crimes were mainly focused on property and hanging
was prescribed for many property crimes because people loved their property and crimes against property was a
huge no no.
Of the 33,000 defendants convicted at the Old Bailey in the 18th century, 1,600 were hanged.
- Executions were at a low number
Punishing the Body
Torture and execution served two separate but overlapping functions.
- Separated by public or private execution
Torture was primarily used to extract information and a confession (same way torture is used today), while execution
was a punishment for crime and a public warning to the populace about the dangers of transgressing the law.
- Process of being executed was very painful, burned alive, hung, drawn, or hordered (cut into 4 pieces). There was
also class distinction between upper and lower class criminals
But, if we define torture simply as the purposeful infliction of pain, torture and execution blend together.
In the early modern period, heretics were burned and criminals were hung, drawn, quartered, and then dissected (the
Murder Act in 1752 officially sanctioned the dissection of hanged criminals- state want to have doctors to preform
anatomies but the population was against this occurring, caused a lot of conflict).
The Body of the Criminal After Death
The body was sacrosanct; doing something to the body after death could also constitute a form of torture or punishment.
Those convicted of piracy were brought from Marshalsea Prison in Southwark, across London Bridge, and past the
Tower to Execution Dock, where they were hung.
The bodies were left hanging until three tides had washed over their head at least 3 times.
After the hanging, more notorious pirates were covered with tar and suspended on a gibbet or in irons along the Thames
to warn sailors about the price of mutiny and piracy. Pain was an essential aspect of executions in the 18th and 19th
McGowan- punishment is linked to a specific moral universe. Does the type of punishment have to change with the
times? Does the way we punish criminals now have to change for times in the future? McGowan argues the specific
moral universe and the history of crime being tied to a specific moral context. He argues order in the 18th and 19th based
on the fundamental belief that …
In the 18th and 19th centuries (and before), society was considered to be analogous to the human body.
Just as bodily health was thought to be maintained through balance, equilibrium was considered necessary for social
Suggests the individual is less important then the social body, punishing criminals for the greater good. Does
imprisonment restore order in society the same way they used to think execution would restore order?
Parts of the social body that caused problems had to be cut off to preserve the integrity of the whole, similar to bodily
The Physical Body and the Metaphorical Body
The language that early modern people used to talk about execution was filled with images of the body.
The body was connected to the gallows
In two ways:
1) The physical trauma exacted on the body of the convicted criminal
2) The use of the body as a metaphor to make sense of the purpose of the execution
The Spectacle of the Tyburn Tree
Before 1783 all common criminals in London were executed at the Tyburn tree.
Cultural history goes further, it attempts to reconstruct mentality and worldview and has major impact on the way we understand crime in the past. Major forces impacting the way society is constructed and understands the world around them: The social and political fabric was being torn apart by shifts in religion, etc. things are changing incredibly quickly. In 1455, johann gutenberg produced the gutenberg bible using his movable type printing press. Before this period, writing out copies of texts produced text and this was expensive. It now could be produced more cheaply and was more accessible to people. The spread of literacy and the spread of ideas. In 1517 martin luther posted his ninety-five theses. Peasants in germany were revolting by the early 1520 s by demands for social reform. Happened because people had access to texts that changed the way they looked at the world. In england, the reformation progresses through parliamentary in the 1530 s.