ABOUT THIS BOOK
Along with most of the rest
of Western culture, has crime itself become more "civilized"?
This book exposes as myths the beliefs that society has become more violent
than it has been in the past and that violence is more likely to occur
in cities than in rural areas.
The product of years of study
by scholars from North America and Europe, The Civilization of Crime
shows that, however violent some large cities may be now, both rural and
urban communities in Sweden, Holland, England, and other countries were
far more violent during the late Middle Ages than any cities are today.
Contributors show that the
dramatic change is due, in part, to the fact that violence was often tolerated
or even accepted as a form of dispute settlement in village-dominated
premodern society. Interpersonal violence declined in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries, as dispute resolution was taken over by courts
and other state institutions and the church became increasingly intolerant
The book also challenges a
number of other historical-sociological theories, among them that contemporary
organized crime is new, and addresses continuing debate about the meaning
and usefulness of crime statistics.
CONTRIBUTORS: Esther Cohen,
Herman Diederiks, Florike Egmond, Eric A. Johnson, Michele Mancino, Eric
H. Monkkonen, Eva Österberg, James A. Sharpe, Pieter Spierenburg,
Jan Sundin, Barbara Weinberger