‘Criminally Poor?’: Investigating the Link Between Crime and Poverty in Eighteenth Century England

Anne Marie Kilday

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Historians of the eighteenth century have only partially theorized about the relationship between poverty and crime; in particular, few have attempted to measure its nature and extent in detail. Moreover, such scholarship has investigated the phenomenon in urban environments, rather than rural contexts. This article examines the incidence of theft in the eighteenth century and utilizes Oxfordshire as a prosperous rural area. By seeking to eliminate endemic poverty from such calculations, the article more accurately investigates whether a link between crime and poverty is evident. By blending qualitative and quantitative approaches, the article also provides a suggested methodology for further micro-histories of this kind across a range of socio-economic areas in Britain and beyond during the early industrial period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-526
Number of pages20
JournalCultural and Social History
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • crime
  • eighteenth century
  • living standards
  • poverty
  • theft

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